Sir Mohinder Dhillon, ‘Mo’ to his friends, was a remarkable Kenyan. From an unschooled village lad in the Punjab, India, to becoming a world-famous frontline news cameraman; his life story is the stuff of legends. Official photographer to Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; a near fatal helicopter crash on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro; coverage of the horrific Ethiopian Famine 1984-86; a bone-chilling escape from a firing squad in the Congo; filming Africa’s bruising independence struggles and war situations in Vietnam, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan; dining with Charlie Chaplin; a bizarre association with the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin …. truly the stuff of legends!
And just as amazing are the qualities of this ‘gentle giant’ behind the camera: humble; courageous; generous; caring – a fighter for social justice; chivalrous; erudite; …. these are just some of the accolades friends have used to describe Mo.
We at AwaaZ would like to collect and record the thoughts and sentiments of Mo’s friends in Nairobi to whom he gave so much in one way or another. The national and international acclaim will be widely available. Fortunately he has also left us a memoir – the 3-part trilogy, My Camera, My Life and there is to be a posthumous publication titled Witness to History – an exciting pictorial anthology of pre- and post-independence East Africa.
We thank these friends for their prompt response to our request, and especially to the Kenya Asian Forum for its solidarity and unanimity over the years.