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One of Africa’s best – South African rapper AKA leaves a legacy of iconic music

One of Africa’s best – South African rapper AKA leaves a legacy of iconic music
AKA performs during the 5FM Joburg Live Loud on 12 September 2015. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

The death of Kiernan Jarryd Forbes – who raked in accolades as a songwriter, music producer and entrepreneur – has stunned the country whose flag he flew proudly around the world.

The death of rapper Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, known as AKA, has left South Africans across the country reeling, not only due to the violent nature of his passing, but also the abrupt loss of such an iconic figure in the local music industry.

Forbes, along with his long-time friend and former manager, Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, was gunned down outside a restaurant on Florida Road in Morningside, Durban, on Friday.

The rapper had only recently celebrated his 35th birthday. His newest album, Mass Country, was set for release on 24 February.

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

“AKA was counted among the best rappers on the continent,” said the  Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in the wake of Forbes’s death. “[He] was known as one of the most patriotic artists who literally flew the South African flag high everywhere he went around the globe.”

AKA performs at the 2014 Channel O Awards in Johannesburg on 29 November 2014. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

Forbes rose to fame between 2010 and 2012, according to the department. He released his debut album, Alter Ego, in 2011, featuring songs such as I want it all and All I know”, as well as the smash hit single Victory Lap.

The album was certified gold by the Recording Industry of South Africa, and received several awards including Best Street Urban Music Album at the South African Music Awards in 2012. Forbes also won Best Male Artist of the Year at the 2012 awards.

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

Between 2014 and 2020, Forbes released three more albums – Levels, Touch my Blood and Bhovamania. He continued to collect accolades throughout his career, including the Favourite South African Star at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards 2019. DM

Reporting by Tamsin Metelerkamp

AKA performs during the Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2019 Grand Finale at Gallagher Estate in Midrand on 3 February 2019. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

Da L.E.S, AKA and Pearl Thusi at the AKA Cruz Watermelon Vodka Launch in Johannesburg on 15 April 2018. (Photo: Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape)

AKA with daughter Kairo Owethu Forbes and Rapper Da L.E.S and his daughter, Madison, during the NBA Africa Game 2018 at Sun Arena in Time Square, Pretoria, on 4 August 2018. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

Nadia Nakai and AKA at the Cruz SA Fashion Week Opening Party in Illovo, Sandton, on 19 October 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape)

AKA performs during the second annual ‘The Heavyweights’ live music concert at Carnival City in Brakpan on 16 June. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

AKA at the third DSTV Mzansi Viewers Choice Awards held at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg on 14 March 2020. (Photo: Gallo Images / Kamohelo Skosana)

AKA at the AKA Cruz Vodka Launch in Johannesburg on 27 June 2016. (Photo: Gallo Images / Oupa Bopape)


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  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    What’s the real story about his girlfriend who fell to her death from a 10th floor hotel in Cape Town whilst he was in the bathroom? Is this a revenge killing as is being touted around town or is that just idle gossip? It would be really convenient to know the truth as it would be a travesty for Florida Road businesses if this was just a random shooting!

  • Chris 123 says:

    There’s more to this, having seen the whole footage it was definitely a hit. Is this just another rapper involved with gangs? Does his girlfriends death having something to do with it?

  • Alan Paterson says:

    Reply “still awaiting moderation” 20 hours later. Why???

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