Prof. Foluke Ogunleye (Nee Adesina) was former Head of the Dramatic Arts department of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, died in an accident on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. She was 53. Prof Foluke Matilda Ogunleye, a renowned theatre practitioner, a don, scholar and media operator
Upon graduation and cutting her teeth in her chosen profession, Ogunleye for many years combined her scholarly works with theatre and media practice. She wrote many drama scripts in addition to acting in many video films and producing quite a good number of plays on stage. In her efforts to sustain the Ife International Film Festival, Professor Ogunleye sought funds from local and international agencies, and went ahead to attract participants (filmmakers and scholars) from different parts of the globe, including United States, Britain, South Africa, Swaziland, France, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Ghana and Uganda. The festival has not only promoted sharing of knowledge among scholars and students of different backgrounds, it has equally served as a veritable teaching tool as well as an avenue for prospective scholars and researchers to regain their focus and direction in the fields of drama and film.
On a more important note, Ogunleye had hinted that the focus of her academic career was to use Drama, Theatre and Mass Media as veritable instruments to improve the society in general. In her robust academic career, Ogunleye was able to publish more than sixty articles in reputable academic journals and books, cutting across performing arts, the media and the society. In the same vein, the late professor published many plays and relevant textbooks on African Video Film. Some of these include The Innocent Victim (2003), A Little Attack of Pregnancy (2003), Nest in a Cage(2004), Transformation and Advancement: The Video Film in Africa(2012), African Film: Looking Back and Looking Forward (2012), Africa Through the Eye of the Video Camera (2008) and African Video Film Today (2003).
As a demonstration of her Christian principles, Ogunleye also wrote and produced many plays for religious education. She has in the process, helped in popularising Christian drama among film producers and theatre practitioners alike. The professor did not just limit herself to creative and scholarly work, she also practised journalism to a reasonable level, having co-edited the publications of the American Studies Association of Nigeria with other renowned academics. In 2003, she was appointed the substantive editor of the association. During her career, Ogunleye also received various grants, awards and distinguished international academic fellowship. Some of these are Fellowship of the African Humanities Institute (African-American Cinema) from the University of Legon, Ghana and Northwestern University, Chicago; Fellowship of the Visual Literacy Institute in Maputo, Mozambique and The Prince Claus Fund for Development for the sponsorship of the Ife International Film Festival.