This week, Kenya is celebrating Mashujaa Day, or National Heroes Day, when we honor people who have made great contributions to our nation and the world. A true son of Africa and one of our heroes is frontline photojournalist Mohamed ‘Mo’ Amin, who moved the world with his extraordinary work and dedication spanning four decades.
Today, I am honored to unveil the project Mo Amin: The Eye of Africa on Google Arts & Culture, which features over 6000 photographs, some of which have not been seen by the world before. It also features more than 50 stories, showcasing the key moments, places and people he documented. It has been created in collaboration with Mo’s son, Salim Amin, and the team at the Mohamed Amin Foundation.
Even though Mo was proud to call Kenya his home, his work, his impact and his reputation transcended national and cultural boundaries. He mobilized the conscience of mankind through his coverage of the squalor and death at a camp in Northern Ethiopia during the famine of 1984. Galvanized by the brutal reality so powerfully witnessed through Mo’s camera lens, governments, celebrities, humanitarians and everyday people all came together to raise money for the famine in one of the most spontaneous and widespread acts of giving the world has ever seen.
What many people might be less familiar with is that, more than anything else, Mo spent a lot of time documenting the beauty, wildlife, culture, people and leaders of his motherland. For more than a generation, Mo used his cameras to bring Africa’s most powerful stories into view.
Much like Africa, Mo was caught up in a tide of change from an early age. From humble roots in Eastleigh in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, he was swept up both by the beauty of Africa’s people and natural heritage and by the turmoil of a continent locked in a wave of independence revolutions and power struggles. And like Africa, his professional journey is a catalogue of beauty and majesty, crisis and chaos, and a deep, resonant passion for documenting and protecting the best of the continent while moving fearlessly forward into an uncertain future.