Monday, April 16, 2012

Photojournalist: Mohammed ‘Mo’ Amin MBE

In the wake of blossoming Kenyan photojournalists like Michael Muite and Boniface Mwangi [the first Kenyan to be named CNN Africa Photojournalist of the year (2008)], one man left an indelible mark in the world of photojournalism. Mo paved way for this form of journalism in the country having been a great TV news cameraman and his coverage of the Ethiopian Famine along with BBC reporter, Michael Buerk.
Courtesy of Mohammed Amin Foundation

Born on 29 August 1943 in Eastleigh, Nairobi; Mo will always be remembered as the most decorated news cameraman of all time. Incredibly, at age 13 he was contributing for the then Tanganyika Standard newspaper and covering the East African Safari Rally. A few years later, his work was featuring in international newspapers that include the likes of Reuters, BBC, and Visnews.
In 1963, he started Camerpix Company from a small shop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Camerapix has over the years grown to a workforce of over 30 media professionals with its headquarters in Nairobi and an office in London. The Camerapix archive boasts of the largest visual resources in Africa. In 1992, he was awarded with the MBE to honour his 30 years of ruthless journalism in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Apart from Ethiopia Famine, Mo has also covered:
The handover of Kenya by the British to Jomo Kenyatta
British Cameraman of the Year for his coverage of the assassination of Tom Mboya
Idi Amin assumption of power and his fall
Fall of Mengistu Haile Mariam
Exclusive Photos of the Pakistan military and Afghan mujahedeen (1970’s)
Among the first TV reporters in Baghdad after the Kuwait Invasion (1990)
He died on November 23, 1996 when the aircraft he had boarded with Brian Tetley a colleague was hijacked; in his effort to stop the incident, the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing ran out of fuel and the aircraft veered off and crashed in the coast of Comoros Islands. This also occasioned the death of Brian Tetley, a renowned feature writer.
The Mohammed Amin Foundation ‘MoForce’ was launched in 1998, to train aspiring African journalists in Television and Film. The quality of its training has seen it produce the CNN African Journalist of the Year Award (2004), Pete Murimi.
His son Salim Amin is currently the CEO of Camerapix. He is also the Founder and Chairman of The Mohammed Amin Foundation and Chairman of A24 Media. In 2006, Salim produced “MO & ME” a documentary film about his father’s life. It has won to date 9 Awards for Best documentary, some of them are the Grand Jury Award at the New York International Festival and Best International Documentary at the Los Angeles International Film Festival.
Awards named after Mo:
‘Mohammed Amin Humanitarian Service Award’ - an honour from the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (awards remarkable handicapped persons)
‘News World Mohammed Amin Award’ – an award started by Reuters to reward outstanding skill in bringing news.

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