Kenyan Photographer Who Inspired Ksh15 B Star-Studded UK Concert

  • A video camera set up at a past news event. Respected Kenyan photographer Mohamed "Mo" Amin's portfolio from an Ethiopian refugee camp inspired international musicians to hold a concert for charity. Twitter
  • Kenyans have for years now been known for disrupting various industries in foreign countries simply by their sheer hard work and genius talents.

    In early 1984, one such Kenyan, photographer Mohamed "Mo" Amin, shook the world with his photographic coverage of emaciated children at a makeshift refugee camp in Ethiopia prompting action from pop stars.

    According to a profile of the photographer by Al Jazeera in June 2018, Mo, who had established contacts after working in the filming industry for years, partnered with BBC correspondents Michael Buerk and Mike Wooldridge to cover a famine that was ravaging Ethiopia.

    He used his contacts to gain entry to the camp and took disheartening pictures of a starving population that was aired across the UK media.

    Photographer Mohamed "Mo" Amin (pictured) had created contacts which he used to gain entry to the drought-ravaged refugee camp in Ethiopia.
    Photographer Mohamed "Mo" Amin (pictured) had created contacts which he used to gain entry to the drought-ravaged refugee camp in Ethiopia.

    The drought had affected more than seven million people in the country.

    "The resulting report was apocalyptic: children standing on legs as thin as matchsticks, wailing from the pain of hunger, emaciated mothers unable to breastfeed their newborn babies and seemingly endless rows of people waiting for food, clothing and shelter," reported Al Jazeera.

    In July 1985, a group of well-known musicians, including singer David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure organised a 16-hour concert with the aim of raising money to help mitigate the drought.

    It was held both London and Philadelphia and reached 1.9 billion people across the world raising a colossal sum of $150 million (Ksh15 billion, in current exchange rates).

    "He succeeded above all else in showing you his own disgust and shame and anger and making it yours also," the broadcaster quoted Geldof.

    Mo developed an interest in photography at 19 years old and moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where he set up a company called Camerapix.

    The Company expanded into an international behemoth spanning 22 countries in Africa.

    Mo suffered a tragedy that led him to lose his arm at an explosion in the Addis Ababa ammunition dump. his colleague passed away on that day. They had visited a site after a blast not knowing a second one was in the pipeline.

    He was born in 1943 in Nairobi and was a second-born in a family of seven children. His father had moved to Kenya from India in 1927.

    Mo died in November 1996 after an Ethiopian Airlines plane he was travelling in got hijacked and crashed into the ocean.

    Photographer Mohamed "Mo" Amin
    Photographer Mohamed "Mo" Amin's Cameraprix company grew into an international business spanning 22 African countries.