Priya Ramrakha (b.Nairobi, 1935 – d.Nigeria, 1968) one of Kenya’s first photojournalists, and one of the first Africans to photograph for Life and Time, documented Africa and the US in the 1950s and 1960s for the world press.
Hailing from one of Kenya’s first journalistic families, Ramrakha immersed himself in documentary photography at a young age. In the 1950’s, he documented the Mau Mau independence movement from the front line, and the rise of Tom Mboya, the young politician who spearheaded Kenya’s freedom movement.
Ramrakha’s early images of Kenyan leaders helped transform photography from a tool of colonial propaganda into a potent weapon against imperial rule.
Following independence in 1963, Ramrakha covered conflict in Zanzibar, Congo, Rhodesia, Aden, and Nigeria.
In 1968, a CBS film crew captured Ramrakha’s final moments, in crossfire between Nigerian soldiers and Biafran rebels. Ramrakha was shot, his camera fell to the ground, and he died while CBS correspondent Morley Safer tried to carry him to safety.
Believed lost for 40 years, many of Priya Ramrakha’s prints were found buried in a Nairobi garage. The work is a unique collection of street photography and journalistic work from across Africa and the US in the 1950s and 1960s.