30 children enrolled in the Tsogo Sun Moves for Life chess academy were recently treated to an outing to see Queen of Katwe, a Disney film about a 10-year-old girl, Phiona Mutesi, from Kampala, Uganda, whose life is completely changed by chess. The outing for the youngsters, from two Diepsloot schools – Reshomile and Muzomuhle primary schools – and six teachers, was arranged as part of Montecasino’s commitment to keeping them inspired by chess.
The Tsogo Sun Moves for Life chess programme operates nationally in 57 schools with about 24 000 participating learners, 569 educators, and 22 tutors from local communities, and is sponsored by eight of Tsogo Sun’s casinos. The programme in Diepsloot is sponsored by Montecasino and accommodates 3 791 learners from five primary schools.
The Queen of Katwe screening was a reward for achievement for the selected children. “Queen of Katwe tells the story of the life of young girl who lives in a slum in Katwe and is taught to play chess by a local missionary. She goes on to become a Woman Candidate Master after exceptional performance at the World Chess Olympiads, totally against the odds. We wanted to inspire the children in our chess programme to work hard at their chess and to dream big,” says Glenn Joseph, GM of Montecasino. He adds that the children were thrilled with the exciting outing and all insisted that they would devote greater attention and energy to their chess classes.
The aim of the Tsogo Sun Moves for Life programme is to use chess as an education tool that helps to improve children’s mathematics, science and problem-solving skills. “Chess can make a difference to the cognitive and analytical abilities of youngsters through the mental discipline required in the game,” says Joseph. The Tsogo Sun Moves for Life programme links chess principles to life skills, mathematics, science and language – and works towards impacting the educational performance of as many children as possible, by unlocking their full mental and social capabilities.
Queen of Katwe is directed by Mira Nair, written by William Wheeler, and stars David Oyelwo, Madina Nair, and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, who visited Johannesburg for the premier. She plays Phiona’s mother in the movie. The film is described by a critic as a breath of fresh air. “Queen of Katwe inspires as it captivates, telling us a story we may have never heard about, but one we’ll probably never forget.”