South Africa


Tributes pour in for SA rapper AKA and his ex-manager after fatal shooting outside Durban restaurant

Tributes pour in for SA rapper AKA and his ex-manager after fatal shooting outside Durban restaurant
Rapper AKA performs during the Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2020 at the Gallagher Convention Centre on 8 March 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

South African rapper Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, better known as AKA, was gunned down alongside his former manager, Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane, on Friday, sending shockwaves through the nation.

Tributes continue to pour in for South African rapper Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known professionally as AKA, and his former manager, Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, after the two were killed in a shooting on Florida Road in Morningside, Durban, on Friday night. 

The shooting took place outside the Wish on Florida restaurant. The KwaZulu-Natal police have confirmed they are investigating the murders.

Police said the two men were walking to their car when they were allegedly approached by two armed suspects who had crossed the street and who then shot the victims at close range. The suspects were reported to have fled the scene on foot.

“Both victims were declared dead at the scene. The motive of the shooting is unknown at this stage and police investigations are ongoing,” police said.

Acknowledging the deaths, Wish on Florida extended its condolences to the families of Forbes and Motsoane. The restaurant said it was handing all surveillance footage of Friday evening over to police. 

Forbes was an award-winning hip-hop artist with several albums under his belt. His new album, Mass Country, was due to be released next Friday.

His parents, Tony and Lynn Forbes, appealed to the public for compassion, space and time for his family to gather and decide on their next steps.

“Kiernan Jarryd Forbes was a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. To many, he was AKA, SUPAMEGA, BHOVA and the many other names of affection his legion of fans called him by,” Tony and Lynn Forbes said.

“Our son was loved and he gave love in return.”

Motsoane’s family echoed the Forbes family’s call for space and time to process their loss, and thanked the public for their support.

Flowers outside Wish on Florida restaurant where rapper AKA was shot in Durban, South Africa. It is understood that AKA was standing outside the Wish restaurant just before 10pm on Friday night when he was gunned down. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

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Catapulted to stardom

A number of political groups and individuals have paid tribute to Kiernan Forbes’ life and music. The Department of Sports, Art and Culture said Forbes was “amongst the best rappers on the continent”.

“Between the years 2010 and 2012, AKA was catapulted to stardom after the release of his debut album Altar Ego in 2011, which features hits such as I Want It All, All I Know and the smash hit single Victory Lap,” the department said.

The Altar Ego album won numerous accolades, including Best Hip Hop Album and Best Produced Album at the 2011 Metro FM Music Awards. Forbes released several successful albums, including Levels, Touch My Blood and Bhovamania.

Read more in Daily Maverick:Ronald Lamola calls for quick arrest and prosecution of rapper AKA’s killers

“AKA was known as one of the most patriotic artists who literally flew the South African flag high everywhere he went around the globe. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, industry peers and fans throughout the continent,” the department said. 

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for sport, arts and culture Amanda Bani-Mapena  said the news of Forbes’ death was shocking and infuriating. According to her office, Forbes was in Durban to celebrate his birthday.

“The tragic killing, no matter the motivation, has not only deprived AKA’s family, but it has put paid to one of the scintillatingly successful artistic stories in South Africa, Africa and the entire world. AKA was a household name globally,” Bani-Mapena said.

“We refuse to be defined as a province that does not recognise the value of human life. We cannot have artists’ lives taken in such an inhumane matter. This has left us distraught and bereft.”

eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda condemned the killings and called on police to “speed up the investigation” and bring those responsible to justice.

“The news of AKA’s passing comes as a shock to us as we were looking forward to seeing him perform at the Durban All White Concert at the Durban [International Convention Centre] next week on Saturday,” said Kaunda.

“The freedom of our residents is threatened each time a person is killed or robbed. We implore the police to be firm and to act decisively in rooting out rogue elements that are behind the killing of innocent people.”

‘Opinionated radical’

The ANC said Forbes served as an inspiration in the development trajectory of South Africa. He would be remembered as an “opinionated radical” who stood at the forefront of the cultural revolution, it said.

“We wish to extend our condolences to his mother, Lynn Forbes, and daughter … as well as the rest of his family, friends, and the creative sector,” the ANC said. “Their grief is shared by the entire nation. The South African music industry is indeed poorer without AKA.”

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal encouraged anyone with information about the shooting to co-operate with police. 

“As the ANC in KZN, we have called on the ANC government to refine the United Front Against Crime initiative during the provincial cabinet lekgotla to be held next week.”

Forbes’ death comes almost two years after that of his fiancée, Anele Tembe, who fell to death from the 10th floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Loop Street, Cape Town, according to a News24 report. In the months after Tembe’s death, there was much speculation as to the circumstances surrounding her fall and her relationship with Forbes before the tragedy. 

Tembe’s father, Moses, extended his condolences to the Forbes family.  “As a parent, I feel a deep pain for Kiernan’s parents … his daughter … and the family at large,” he said

“Kiernan was an extraordinary and talented musician. His music contributed meaningfully to South Africa’s and indeed Africa’s rich music tapestry.” DM


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