Madina Nalwanga Biography: Age, Early Life, Education, Relationship, Career, Awards & Nominations, Controversy, Net Worth

She's become a star at such a young age.

By  | Oct 15, 2020, 11:32 AM  | Madina Nalwanga  | Top of The

At such a young age she's already taken the film industry by storm because of her acting prowess. Madina Nalwanga is a Ugandan actress famously known for her lead role as Phiona in Disney's Queen of Katwe.



She was the youngest star to be selected for the Forbes 30 under 30 list and it seems she's only getting started to place herself on the map. 

Here's a look at Madina's biography. 

Madina Nalwanga Age


She was born on February 2, 2002. She is 18 years old.



Madina Nalwanga Early Life


From humble beginnings, Madina did not grow in a well to do family. She was born in a poverty stricken town called Katwe in Kampala. 

She spent most of her childhood selling corn on the streets trying to make to help the family put food on the table. 

Madina Nalwanga Career


At a very young age, Madina has always had the dreams of becoming the best version of herself. Little did she know that the second movie she would ever watch in her life she was going to star in it.

Youtube embed

In 2016 Madina played the role of Phiona Mutesi in the true story a Ugandan girl who transformed her life by becoming a national chess champion. In the film, Phiona was initially drawn to the local program chess where she lived because they provided a meal of porridge everyday.

β€œIt was simple. Because that life is the same as my life.” Madina said. She did not have a hard time channelling Phiona's character because she grew up under the same circumstances.

Pic cred: usatoday.com; Madina with Lupita Nyonyo and David Oyelowo who also star in Queen of Katwe

Madina acted alongside the industry's greats, Lupita Nyongo who played her mother and David Oyelowo who was chess coach. At the time of the filming, Madina was still a teeneager and David and Lupita were very protective over her.

β€œWe’re very protective,” says Oyelowo, who took Madina and seven other children from the film to see Jurassic World while they were shooting. β€œMadina was clawing my arm so much I had nail marks,” he said.

David said he realised that Madina had never seen a movie before and when they were watching Jurassic World she turned to David and said, β€˜Coach! Is this what we are doing?’.

A study conducted by the University of Oxford even showed that students who had the opportunity to watch the movie actually performed better in school than they used to before. Madina's depiction of most kids' lives who grew up under not so good conditions actually turned out to have a great impact on so many lives.

Sadly in 2020, Madina lost a very good friend of hers that she starred along in the film 'Queen of Katwe'. Nikita Pearl Waligwa died at the age of fifteen after she was diagnose with a brain tumor. Nikita played the role of Gloria who explained the rules of chess to Phiona. 


Madina Nalwanga Awards


With such a short time, Madina has already collected a number of awards. Here's a list of those awards: 

2017 - Most Promising Actor at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria (Won)
2017 - National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) Award (Won)
2017 - Women Film Critics Circle Award (Won)
2017 - Critics' Choice Awards (Nominated)
2018 - 30 under 30 Forbes List



Madina has a very bright future ahead of her as an actress. She has already made a name of herself in the film industry and fans can't wait to see her on-screen again.


Read next: Juliana Kanyomozi Biography: Age, Early Life, Education, Relationship, Career, Awards & Nominations, Controversy, Philanthropy, Brand Endorsements, Net Worth

Main image credit: GANDAlebs.com