The film is told through the eyes of his son, Salim Amin, who, ten years after the tragic death of his father in a hijacked aeroplane, chronicles the career of his father. It is the story of an extraordinary man who, for 20 years, brought Africa’s major news stories to the world.
The 95 minute film, directed by Roger Mills and narrated by Salim Amin, has recently won the Silver Screen Award at the US International Film and Video Festival in California and, earlier this month, the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at the New York International Film and Video Festival.
Mo covered Africa’s major news stories over his 30 year career, bringing to the world events that were changing the face of an emerging continent – the murder of Tom Mboya in Kenya, the rise and fall of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, the coronation of Emperor Bokassa and the liberation of Ethiopia from the communist tyranny of Mengistu Haile Miriam. As his son says, ‘his life was inseparable from the often traumatic history of post-independent Africa’.
Mo Amin suffered torture and imprisonment, survived bombs and bullets, lost his left arm, and almost his life, in an ammunition dump explosion in Addis Ababa in 1991 – always in pursuit of the story. He emerged from it all as the most honoured and decorated news cameraman of his time.
Mo Amin was killed ten years ago when the hijacked Ethiopian airline in which he was travelling plunged into the Indian Ocean off the Comoros Islands.
Salim Amin’s account of his father’s single-minded and sometimes ruthless thirst for news is movingly honest and deeply personal. He idolised his father but admits that he came to know him better after his death than when he was alive. ‘Dad showed the world what some were afraid to see and what most people wished they could ignore’, he says.
He now runs Camerapix from Nairobi, Kenya, the company founded by his father in the 1960s. He is determined to carry on his father’s legacy through the Mohamed Amin Foundation, which is training a new generation of Africa’s photo-journalists, and by establishing Africa’s first pan-African 24 hour television news service.
“Dad always wanted to tell the story through Africa’s eyes”, he says. “I intend to see that this happens”.