Frederick Nanka-Bruce

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Frederick Victor Nanka-Bruce
Born Frederick Victor Nanka-Bruce
(1878-10-09)9 October 1878
Accra, Gold Coast
Died 13 July 1951(1951-07-13)
Conakry, Guinea
Occupation Medical Doctor Politician
Nationality British Subject,
Ethnicity Ga
Education University of Edinburgh
Spouse Christiana Reindorf

Hon. Dr. Frederick Victor Nanka-Bruce (9 October 1878[1] – 13 July 1953) was a physician, journalist and politician in the Gold Coast. He was the third African to practise medicine in the colony, after Benjamin Quartey-Papafio and Ernest James Hayford.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

Frederick Victor Bruce, the son of Alexander Bruce, an Accra merchant, and Christiana Reindorf, was the scion of two prominent Ga families. The Bruces were from James Town or British Accra, while the Reindorfs were from Danish Accra or Osu. His father was a descendant of a prominent Ga trader Robert William Wallace Bruce, while his mother was a relative of the Basel Mission catechist Carl Christian Reindorf. Bruce appended "Nanka" in honour of his ancestor, Robert William Wallace Bruce, who was also known as Nii Nanka.

Nanka-Bruce was educated at the Government School in Accra and at the Wesleyan Boys' High School in Lagos.[3] After an apprenticeship to a dispenser in Accra, he was a member of the 1900 Kumasi Expedition - besieged in Kumasi Fort with the Governor, Frederick Hodgson, until the expedition managed to break through the Ashanti lines to the coast.[4] In 1901 he travelled to study medicine at Edinburgh University. Gaining his M.B. and Ch.B. in 1906, he worked at the London Hospital before returning to Accra in 1907.

Political career[edit]

Nanka-Bruce built up a private medical practice in Accra, and was a government adviser on public health. In 1918 he founded The Gold Coast Independent newspaper. He was a member of the Legislative Council, representing the Accra Ratepayers Association, from 1931 to 1935 and again from 1946 to 1950.[3] He was awarded the O.B.E. in 1935.[5] In 1933 he was a co-founder and the first President of the Gold Coast Medical Practitioners Union, and in 1951 a co-founder and first President of the Ghana branch of the British Medical Association; after Nanka-Bruce's death the two organisations would merge to form the Ghana Medical Association.[6]

His sister Florence, and after her early death another sister Emma, married Thomas Hutton-Mills, Sr.[7] He died 13 July 1953.[4][8] His descendants still live in Accra and include the Ghanaian disc jockey William Nanka-Bruce.


  1. ^ Magnus Sampson, Makers of Modern Ghana, Vol. One, Accra: Anowuo Publications, 1969, p. 179.
  2. ^ Jeffrey P. Green, Black Edwardians: Black people in Britain, 1901-1914, Taylor & Francis, 1998, p. 147. Nanka-Bruce's BMJ obituarist reported him as the second African to practise medicine in the Gold Coast.
  3. ^ a b Michael R. Doortmont, The Pen-Pictures of Modern Africans and African Celebrities by Charles Francis Hutchison: A Collective Biography of Elite Society in the Gold Coast Colony, Brill, 2005, p. 148.
  4. ^ a b "F. V. Nanka-Bruce, O.B.E., M.B., Ch.B.", British Medical Journal, 1 August 1953, p. 289.
  5. ^ The Times, 3 June 1935.
  6. ^ Ghana Medical Association: About Us.
  7. ^ Doortmont, p. 261.
  8. ^ Doortmont gives the date as 3 July 1951.