The 35-year-old was killed alongside businessman and chef Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane in Durban on Friday night.
Life & Arts

‘AKA was a trailblazing juggernaut’

DESPITE the controversy surrounding rapper Kiernan Forbes — better known as AKA — he will be remembered as a superstar, a doting dad and a trailblazer in the local music scene.

The 35-year-old was killed alongside businessman and chef Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane in Durban on Friday night. This was hours after he announced the impending release of his latest album, Mass Country.

Forbes’ Instagram account held detailed descriptions of how he spent his last day — including an announcement that he would’ve performed at YūGō in Durban that night. His social media reels document how he visited the gym, went for a haircut where he ran into Dreamteam member Lusaso Ngcobo, had some tequila shots with friends, and even shared an image of the seafood he had at Wish in Florida.

Affectionately known as Supermega to his fans, AKA was born in Cape Town and lived with his grandmother in Westridge, Mitchells Plain, until the age of six when he moved to Johannesburg to live with his mother, Lynn Forbes, who was a teacher at the time. She later got involved in managing her son’s brand.

 The Fela in Versace rapper worked to capture the country’s cultural and ethnic diversity in his songs using indigenous languages. During an interview, AKA said the circles in which he moved largely contributed to his use of African languages in his songs.

AKA began his music career in 2002 but made it big with his hit song, In My Walk, in 2009. He had been a member of Entity, which was nominated for Best African Hip Hop Album at the Kora-awards in 2005. He was a staunch Manchester United fan who proudly sported a tattoo of the team’s logo on his arm.

The rapper leaves behind his seven-year-old daughter Kairo Forbes, who he had with South African DJ Ntombezinhle Jiyane, popularly known as DJ Zinhle in 2015. The rapper often showed videos of Kairo on his Instagram and TikTok accounts. The father-daughter duo had a well-documented relationship. However, a source close to Zinhle said, “She is going through the most and is unable to speak at the moment.”

Forbes’ life was not short of controversy and much of the drama played out online, from his relations with a string of women to his feuds with award winning rapper Casper Nyovest, who recently revealed he no longer felt safe following the murder of DJ Sumbody in November. AKA dated DJ Zinhle intermittently between 2014 and 2020.

His relationship with media personality Bonang Matheba also made the news following reports he left a pregnant Zinhle for Matheba. In 2021, his relationship with Anele Tembe also made headlines after she died from a fall from a balcony of a posh Cape Town hotel.

They were engaged and he was with her at the time. Following her death, Forbes revealed that their relationship had been rocky but he denied that he had been abusive towards her, adding that Tembe had tried to harm herself before. At the time of his death AKA had been dating rapper Nadia Nakai. The duo recently vacationed in the US. — IOL

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