Before Jeff Koinange and Larry Madowo were Kenya's most popular Kenyan journalists around the world, Mohamed Amin ruled the space.
Popularly known as Mo, his photojournalist skills earned him respect across the continent and beyond, until his death in a jetliner that ran out of fuel and crashed in the Indian Ocean after hijackers battled the pilot for the controls.
The vetaran photographer would have turned 77 on August 29, as his son Salim Amin recently shared in a post on LinkedIn.The late Kenyan photojournalist Mo Amin with the late former President of Uganda Idi Amin DadaFileCamerapix
Salim also revealed an excerpt from his father's book about how Mo was granted exclusive access to the late former Ugandan President Idi Amin Dada.
On 25th January 1971, Idi Amin seized his opportunity and took power in a bloody coup.
Mo booked a charter flight to Uganda, but the pilot would not risk such a trip without clearance from Kampala.
“At the charter company, I booked a call to the Command Post in Kampala. I hoped I might be able to contact someone with the authority to give me landing permission. Eventually, I got through and gave it my best shot. I said, ‘This is Mohamed Amin. Can I speak to General Amin?’” the photojournalist requested.
Mo was asked to hold on then a voice came quickly on the line saying “This is General Amin.”
“I was knocked out. I’d got through just like that. I’ve always believed they thought I must be a relative. I said 'Sir, I am Mohamed Amin. I’m a news cameraman. I have just heard the news and I would like to come to Uganda now, and record the events," Mo recalled.
Idi personally received the photojournalist at the airport and took him on a victory drive through Kampala, and a relationship that gave Mo exclusive access to the dictator was established!
His biggest break came in 1984 when he teamed up with BBC correspondents to cover the Ethiopian famine which shook the world.
The footage triggered the international community into action and a 16-hour charity concert was organised to raise funds for the crisis.
The star-studded concert, featuring performances by the likes of Bob Dylan and David Bowie, was held in dual venues in London and Philadelphia and was watched by around 1.9 billion people, reportedly raising over Ksh10 billion in relief aid.The late Kenyan photojournalist Mo Amin with the late former President of Uganda Idi Amin DadaFileCamerapixdeath crash
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