About the Film

The WASU Project is currently engaged in producing a film documenting the history of the West African Students’ Union and is searching for additional information and people to interview. If you can help please contact us.

Interview with Chief Opeolu Ogunbiyi


Chief Opeolu Ogunbiyi was born in Ijebu-Itele, Nigeria, in 1910 and first came to London in 1932. Known as Mama WASU, she was the matron in charge of the first two WASU hostels and was married to the WASU’s founder Ladipo Solanke.

Interview with Mr Aliyi Ekineh

Aliyi Ekineh was born in Abonnema, Nigeria in 1921 and first came to London in 1946 to study law. He was a resident of the WASU’s second hostel known as Africa House.


  1. Habiba cooper diallo
    February 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    wow; fantastic work Hakim! Which universities did these students attend?
    When will the film available?

    • They studied at several universities in London but also at universities throughout Britain, including several in Scotland. Solanke was a student at University College, London.
      Keep looking out for news of the film. If all goes to plan it should be out by the end of the year!

  2. Impressive work. I look forward to the film release.

  3. Wow, I’m really looking forward to watching the entire film! Both clips have an underlying theme of diasporic foodways. Did you ask questions about food/cuisine or did the interviewees bring that up themselves?

    • Food was an important consideration. In order to provide a ‘home from home’ Africa House also had its own restaurant. The WASU provided a variety of facilities in addition to its political campaigning.

  4. Greetings Hakim! I am so pleased that you are bringing this very important piece of history to light. I was not aware of the WASU prior to you sharing the link with me. I am so glad that you did and now that I am aware I want to know more. My grandfather and his brother studied in England in the early 1920s prior to the formation of the WASU and I know they both dealt with many struggles as students in England. Seeing and listening to the accounts of these two wonderful elders brought my grandfather and his stories back to my mind. How amazing these elders both are and what a blessing it is to hear of their experiences after so much time has passed. I am very much looking forward to seeing this film once completed and will be passing the word around to others. Thank you so much for this excellent and much needed documentary. Wishing you much success!

    • Passing the word around to others is exactly what we want everyone to do. Thanks for your support!

    • Dear Eshe,
      Please I am doing research on this topic – West African fronts before and during the WASU early years. I am specifically interested in writng about women and their activities. Do you think I can interview some of those you know? I’m preparing this for a conference in Ghana in October this year.
      Thanking u in anticipation and waiting to hear soonest from you.

  5. I am so glad to see this project developing. It is very important to British Nigerians like myself who have not had proper education or connection to their culture. I can’t wait for the finished film, exhibition and lectures to come.

    Well done, Hakim!

  6. Dear Adi, this is a great initiative. This film project is really valuable for it reexamines in another approach the lives of West African students in the British context which remain up to then a conundrum in the history of Pan-Africanism. Thank you for your great work on Pan-Africanism and above all for providing us with an acccount of the struggle of West Africans in Britain in your well-documented book .

    Looking forward to meet you one day!

  7. A really interesting piece, enjoyed the contributions. The reference to African food been absent just seems strange in the 21st century. Brilliant insight Hakim


  8. This is amazing! great to see this! keep it up, proud. Where can this film be purchased. Bless. Love.

  9. Hakim,

    I hope all is well with you and that this project is coming along. I am really looking forward to seeing this documentary when finish.

    Best wishes
    MDX Alumna

  10. Thanks we are making progress and hope to have a first edit soon! Watch this space!

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