Agnes Yewande Savage was born on the 21st of February, 1906 in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a Nigerian father, Richard Akinwande Savage and a Scottish mother, Maggie S. Bowie. In 1919, at the tender age of thirteen, Yewande Savage gained entrance into the Royal College of Music and was awarded a scholarship to study at George Watson’s Ladies College.
Agnes Yewande Savage later studied medicine at Edinburgh University and graduated in flying colours. She was awarded the Dorothy Gilfillon Memorial Prize for the best woman graduate in 1929. She became the first Nigerian female doctor. After graduating at Edinburgh University, she worked with the colonial service in Ghana where she faced backbreaking gender and racial discrimination in her medical career. Yewande Savage was a brilliant and exceptional student but still, she was paid a meagre wage and also lived in the servants’ quarters. She later worked as a teacher and medical officer with Andrew Fraser, headmaster of Achimota College, in 1931. After sometime, she returned to the Colonial Office medical service and with the help of Andrew Fraser, her wage and job benefits were pushed to an equilibrium with other white staffs.
Agnes Yewande Savage later retired in 1947 and lived the rest of her life in Hertfordshire, England, looking after her brother’s son and daughter. She died in 1964.
Thanks for reading,
- * Mitchell, Henry; November 2016; “Dr Agnes Yewande Savage – West Africa’s First Woman Doctor (1906-1964)”. Centre of African Studies
- * E. Keazor, 120 Great Nigerians, p.409