Sir Mohinder captured fleeting moments that comprised everyday life and the world we inhabit

Mohinder Dhillon courtesy

Mohinder Dhillon died earlier this week at the age of 88. He was Kenya’s most globally recognised and prolific photojournalist. He not only chronicled the lives of presidents and freedom fighters but he also captured the birth of a nation.

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Early life

Mohinder Dhillon

In 1947, at the age of 16, Mohinder Dhillon arrived in Mombasa with no certificates and Urdu as his only language of communication. Although he faced many challenges, his language barrier notwithstanding, just five years later, in 1952, he was doing still photography and working at Halley studios. In 1961, with Ivor Davis, he founded Africapix and was on his way to becoming one of the most respected and inventive photojournalists of his time.

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The Ethiopian famine


Among his internationally acclaimed body of work lies his coverage of the Ethiopian famine in the mid-1980s, which triggered a massive global response and millions of dollars in famine relief and remains his most haunting work.

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He was just one man behind a camera, and yet he captured snapshots in time that have defined generations and in this case, a country. His contribution to humanity and his service of bringing global attention to critical issues affecting the African continent earned him the title of Knight Commander bestowed upon him by His Highness, the Crown Prince, Zere Yacob Asfa Wossen Haile Sellassie.

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Mohinder was there when an athlete collapsed after a run, captured another in the embrace of his wife and a Queen inspecting the Kenyan army honour guards. He chronicled the lives of presidents, freedom fighters and the birth of a nation.

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You can view some of his photos – including the ones mentioned here – that told Kenyan stories and delivered moments of a time not yet forgotten here.


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