Johannesburg - Unlike the movie’s other premiers, the Johannesburg premier of the Disney movie Queen of Katwe did not have all its stars present. British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo, who plays Robert Katende, and Madina Nalwanga, who plays Phiona Mutesi, were noticeably absent on Wednesday night.
But this did little to deter the night’s events, as the cast, crew and guests trickled in to Montecasino in Joburg.
As promised, at 19:00, Phiona Mutesi, the young woman whose story the movie is about, walked in with her coach Robert Katende.
Next would be the film’s critically acclaimed director Mira Nair, who effortlessly chatted to the press who had thronged the red-carpet event.
Hard to miss was local actor Aaron Moloisi, who came ready to tease the cameras – he paused for them in his African fabric ensemble, and DJ Sbu walked in next.
The ladies soon hit the red carpet, in what could have passed for a planned arrival, almost all at once.
Singer Lira, Simphiwe Dana, Toya Delazy, and Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o (who plays Harriet Nakku in Queen of Katwe) came camera ready.
Former first lady, and the day’s guest of honour, Graça Machel, seemed camera shy.
She sped across the red carpet, barely giving the photographers a chance to get their desired shots.
Though the wine was endless, it was the inclusion of a Ugandan menu, complete with the peanut and sim-sim pastes, that was genius.
The movie was very well received, and some of those in the cinema whooped and cheered – it was a fitting launch for a special film.
Queen of Katwe opens on the local circuit next week.
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