Ugandan teenage chess sensation, Phiona Mutesi is this evening set to become the first Ugandan to be hosted by Oprah Winfrey, the legendary American talk show host. Mutesi and her guardian Robert Katende are guest speakers at the 2013 Women in the World Summit: “Stories and Solutions” in New York.

Women in the World is a movement dedicated to advancing women and girls through stories and solutions. From Oprah Winfrey to Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie, the summit which started Thursday this week pools together some of the most recognisable female faces around the world alongside the faces that will soon be joining that list. Faces such as Mutesi Phiona’s.

Mutesi whose birth year is estimated to be 1993 grew up in Katwe a Kampala slum. She has made world headlines since she becoming the youngest person ever to win the African Chess Championship.


In 2006, former Gender Minister Zoe Bakoko Bakoru became the first Ugandan to feature on the world famous now gone Oprah Winfrey Show where she told her life story and how she struggled to serve the less privileged with compassion. The following year, the story of northern Uganda also featured on the show.

Unlike Phiona’s case, Bakoru and the northern Uganda stories were pre-recorded sessions that played on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show’s journalist Lisa Ling shot them in Uganda.

According to Augustine Lwanga, the Uganda Chess Federation (UCF) treasurer, Mutesi’s success has motivated a new class of strong female chess players in Uganda adding that many young players are working hard to emulate her success on the global scene.

Later this year, Mutesi whose exact birth date remains uncertain is scheduled to meet American billionaire Bill Gates a meeting that could just define the future of chess in Uganda.

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