Born in Nairobi, Kenya on 28 August, 1943, the second son of a poor railway worker, Mo Amin (“Mo”) was soon faced with racism, an inevitable product of colonialism. He never forgot those underdog years and fought against prejudice the rest of his life.
From the time he acquired his first camera, a second-hand Box Brownie, Mo’s future was determined. Quickly he learned photographic and darkroom skills and was already applying them to commercial use when he went to secondary school in the then Tanganyika. Before he was 20 he was a recognized force as a freelancer in Dar es Salaam and his work appeared in all the Fleet Street national newspapers.
In a career spanning more that 30 years, Mo was our eyes on the frontline in every situation and his honest unwavering approach to photojournalism earned him the unconditional respect of both friends and enemies alike. Mo covered every major event in Africa and beyond, braving 28 days of torture, surviving bombs and bullets, even the loss of his left arm in an ammunition dump explosion, to emerge as the most decorated news cameraman of all time.
Mo’s remarkable life was cut tragically short in November 1996 when hijackers took over an Ethiopian airliner forcing it to crash land in the Indian Ocean killing 123 passengers and crew. Mo died on his feet still negotiating with the terrorists.
By any standards, Mo’s life was truly extraordinary; action-packed, full of pain and passion and inseparable from the troubled chronicle of emergent Africa.