Journalist/Documentary film Producer and Director Justin N.K. Savage and wife Nancy-Elizabeth Savage (Nancy-Elizabeth Hudson) You looking at my mother and father.
Justin Nobleman Kodwo Savage was a professional journalist, documentary film producer and director, born at Cape Coast, in the central region of Ghana in 1932. While in active service, he passed away on January 29, 1976.
At Guinea Press, now ‘The Ghanaian Times’ during the Kwame Nkrumah era, Mr. Savage travelled extensively across the globe, whenever the president leaves the country to participate in world affairs.
At home, Ghanaians were able to receive first-hand information from Mr. Savage, over Nkrumah’s trip overseas, appearing in ‘The Evening News,’ newspaper dominated by party news, CPP, and adulation of Nkrumah.
At Guinea Press, Justin Savage had the opportunity to make further studies in journalism in London, England, but Nkrumah’s interest in communism took him off Ghana soil to many Eastern European countries including Poland, Czechoslovakia etc, and Russia.
In the sixties, the president of the then Czechoslovakia invited African journalists to his country. Justin Savage heads the African journalists from Ghana, but the Ghanaians presence stole the show, because of the native Kente cloth they put on. Kente exposes the rich tradition and culture of Ghana.
Justin Savage filed his press cuts and combined all his publications which appeared in the newspapers as a magazine, naming it “A Mixture Of Periodicals.” These publications later after his death, became my favourite book, assisting me to gain more writing skills when my interest increased to be a writer.
Darkness fell on Ghana when Nkrumah was overthrown-ed on February 24, 1966, in a coup organized by CIA and local collaborators. Chaos and curfews followed amidst jubilation and sadness. Mr. Savage served Guinea press a year more and he resigned.
He followed a course in technology at the Kumasi Science and Technology, where he studied film production. After his course, he entered into Ghana Broadcasting Corporation as ‘Advisor on film for television.’
He excelled in his profession and had promotions. It wasn’t long when Friedrich Ebert Foundation (West German Television Team) established a television project attached to the Broadcasting House in Ghana.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is a German political foundation named after Friedrich Ebert, Germany’s first democratically elected president. Headquartered in Bonn and Berlin, the foundation contributes to social democracy by means of:
Political education in order to reinforce its fundamental values, research and scientific analysis of central policy areas, various forms of public dialogue in order to pave the way for it, scholarship programs for students and Ph.D. candidates, development cooperation aimed at global justice and building bridges of international cooperation for worldwide democracy.
For efficient service and to be familiar with new developments in television production, Mr. Savage was at West German for an intensive course. He returned to the Broadcasting House and was appointed ‘Documentary Film Producer and Director.
At the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, he made a number of documentary films, especially during the exhibition of Ghana and other African products at both the first and second ‘Ghana International Trade Fair,’ in Accra.
Kodwo, the name his co-workers loved to call him, did a number of documentary films, including ‘Ghana At A Glance, Cocoa In Ghana, Backyard Industries and ‘Furnace in a Village’, produced in 1972. I had the opportunity to play a role in ‘Backyard Industries.’
I grew up to see some of his friends such as Mr. Kofi Badu, the Managing Director of Daily Graphic, Mr. Richard jackson, also at Guinea Press, and Mr. Willie Donkor, the Editor of Weekly Spectator, still in the media. In the early nineties, January, I contacted one of my father’s friends called Mr. Ebo Biney, at the Broadcasting House, requesting if he could telecast one of my father’s films on January 29, for remembrance. It came as a shock to me when I learned that all my father’s films got burnt, following a fire which engulfed Ghana Broadcasting Corporation some time ago.
Since then I have been working very hard to see if I can find any of my father’s work online, despite far behind computer age or advanced modern technology. Like winning a lotto, I discovered two. The first is at the website of Len Pole, a Museum Consultant: “Advisor on a film for television, ‘Furnace in a Village’, produced by Kodwo Savage, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, 1972.” – http://www.lenpole.com/ I contacted the museum consultant after the discovery of my father’s work on his website. I was delighted when he told a few years ago ‘Furnace in a village’ was shown at Cannes Film Festival.
Then I had a new breakthrough when I discovered another work at Selected Bibliography in Communication – jstor by Graham B. Kerr, under the topic- All African governments are committed to the development and most wish to …Journalism Quarterly [forthcoming]. ….. SAVAGE, J.N.K. “Ghana Jugend begeistert.- “Ghana inspires youth.”
The selected Bibliography in Communication is a book published by the Canadian Association of African Studies. Justin Savage writes:
“We must bridge the gap between leaders and masses, between government and people. No government tells the people everything, but every government must reach the people so as to tell them what they should be told” – Julius Nyerere
The search for my father’s work isn’t yet over. As time goes on when I discover something new, I will keep on updating this article. I hope readers will enjoy this article and please, if it happens that you know my father or has any information about him, you are always welcome.
The incredible story of this great writer neglected when he was a child is now available at