Mohamed Amin, known to his friends simply as “Mo”, was Kenya’s first world-renowned newsman. A self-taught photographer and television cameraman, he rose to prominence in 1984 when he brought to world attention the devastating famine that ravaged through Ethiopia. An estimated 400,000 people died as a consequence, although the UN estimates as many as 1 million people may have perished.
The moving images galvanised the world into a fit of giving. The Irish singer Bob Geldof organised band aid, releasing a record that sold nearly 4 million copies, while a group of top American musicians, working under the auspices of USA for Africa, released the evergreen, We Are the World hit that sold 20 million copies. All the proceeds from the songs went to support charities working in Ethiopia.
Mo also covered memorable stories, such as the self “crowning” of “Emperor” Jean Bedel Bokassa of the Central African “Empire,” and the invasion that toppled the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He was also the author of numerous coffee table books including Paradise Found, Pilgrimage to Mecca and Journey Through Pakistan. He was also the publisher of Selamta, the Ethiopian Airlines magazine.
In the latter years of his life, he was fitted with a bionic arm after losing his arm from an explosion at a munition dump near the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Mo was born in Nairobi but he started his career in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where he started the Camerapix in 1963. He died in 1996 when the Ethiopian jetliner he was travelling in was hijacked and crashed into the sea off the Comoros.