In February this year, an after school chess club at Ukhanyo Primary School was formed, after a donation of chess boards by the Rotary Club of Claremont. The club has successfully taken off since then and has brought many unforeseen opportunities because it has taken not just the children, but the coaches on a learning journey as well. Headed up by Nokuthula, Nangamso and Lukhanyo, the club has won 33 out of the 36 inter-school matches they’ve participated in around Cape Town. This has given the learners a new found confidence in themselves and their capabilities and has shown the coaches the impact they are making in the programme.
As successful as the programme has been, the coaches and kids could not have imagined that their paths would cross with the real life chess heroes depicted in the film Queen of Katwe. This was until last week Saturday when the Ukhanyo coaches took the club members on an outing to the CTICC to attend the enrichED After School Programme symposium hosted by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.
At the event, the club got the opportunity to watch the screening of the film Queen of Katwe and had a Q&A with the stars of the film, Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi and her inspirational coach Robert Katende who were key speakers at the event. Although just being in the chess club was already motivating and important to these learners, this interaction opened a door of possibilities to a brighter future.
To the children, Phiona and Robert are symbols of success because they can relate to their individual life stories of beating the odds by focusing on education. They all came back from the event determined to overcome any circumstances they might face and work towards a brighter future for the club and for themselves as individuals.