Richard Akinwande Savage

Dr. Richard Akinwande Savage in photo with Scottish wife
Dr. Richard Savage with second wife, Dora whom he married much later after death of first, nee Phyllis Frances Heroina Ribeiro in 1940. Special thanks to Mike Savage ©LitCaf

Richard Akinwande Savage was a vocational journalist and medical doctor. Born in 1874 to a prominent Lagos merchant Yoruba returnee from Sierra Leone. As a medical student, Savage served as an officer and then a delegate of the Edinburg University Afro-West Indian Literary Society, and editor of the University Hand Book for 1899 and the subsequent year. He served with the government and in private capacity in Gold Coast, where in 1914, he vented the idea of a West African conference where leading educated men, already numerous by then, could discuss the African position under British rule.

Akinwande returned to Nigeria in 1915 and tried to organize a group to sponsor the project, but failed partly due to his personality and bad publicity by the colonial governor of Nigeria who ridiculed the idea as self-seeking and an attempt to apply European theories in a wholly different set of African circumstances. Akinwande set up a private medical practice in Lagos and subsequently established his own Saturday newspaper, Nigerian Spectator in 1923, a nationalist medium through which in the seven years of its existence, he became a famous writer and one of the most renowned vocational journalists of his time. Fred I.A. Omu described Akinwande in  Press & Politics, 1880-1937 as being a successful journalist with a less distinguished record in politics, due to, as alleged by his detractors, his intemperate, self-assertive, self-satisfied nature and penchant for mud-slinging and abuse. Akinwande died in 1935. The military doctor, “Major Savage,” celebrated for his kindness during the Burmese war in BBC Lagos Correspondent, Barnaby Phillip’s autobiography, Another Man’s War, was Akinwande’s son. Daughter, Agnes Yewande Savage was the first West African woman to receive a degree in medicine.

Dr. Akinwande Savage with his first wife, nee Phyllis Frances Heroina Ribeiro who died in 1940
Dr. Akinwande Savage as a younger man with his first wife, nee Phyllis Frances Heroina Ribeiro who died in 1940. Special thanks to Mike Savage ©LitCaf .
Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer