Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, the South African rapper popularly known as AKA, was shot and died in the city of Durban, South Africa on Friday, February 10th. AKA was outside Wish, a restaurant on the busy Florida Road, when two men allegedly approached him, shooting him six times according to the South African Police Services. At the time of the shooting, AKA was in the company of his friend and former manager, Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, who was also shot and killed, and a bodyguard who was rushed to hospital with injuries. The hitmen walked off into the darkness they had appeared from.
The assailants are currently the subjects of a manhunt.
“The first male showed no signs of life and there was nothing more paramedics could do for him, and he was declared deceased on the scene. The second male was found in a critical condition. Advanced Life Support paramedics worked to stabilize the man on the scene, however, the man’s condition deteriorated and he was declared deceased on the scene,” said police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda.
AKA had recently turned 35 years old, celebrating his birthday on January 28th. He was in the city of Durban for a show at a nightclub called Yugo. His Instagram stories had shown him in a celebratory mood, getting a haircut and enjoying dinner with his friends hours before his tragic death. The police are investigating two cases of murder.
Outpouring of Love and Grief
The rapper’s family released a statement mourning their child and asking for compassion and privacy. “To us, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes was a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and friend, most importantly, father to his beloved daughter, Kairo. To many, he was AKA, Supermega, Bhova, and the many other names of affection his legion of fans called him by,” the statement said. “Our son was loved and gave love in return. In this time of grief, we appeal for your compassion, space, and time to congregate as a family and decide on the upcoming days.”
AKA’s death has been mourned by the nation, with many shocked at how violently he was killed. Condolences have been sent from all spheres of South African society, including political and entertainment circles.
“No one can ever question, argue, or reduce AKA for his music, his power or his presence. You can literally feel his love for the game through all of his performances, his antics & his smile. A true musician, a true legend. All we have now is the music. Rest In Power Kiernan,” tweeted Ms Cosmo, a South African hip-hop DJ, podcaster, and radio personality.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, a political party in South Africa, also sent out words of condolence, lamenting the crime levels in the country.
“The EFF sends its condolences to the friends, family, loved ones, and colleagues of AKA. The level of crime in South Africa has spiraled out of control, and assassination of civilians has become a norm. The EFF calls for the speedy apprehension of those involved in the killing of AKA, and we hope his soul rests in perfect peace.”
AKA, The Superstar
AKA broke onto the music scene as part of the school boy hip-hop trio Entity in the early 2000s. The group released one studio album titled “Royal School of Hip-Hop” which was nominated in the Best African Hip-Hop category at the famous Kora Awards.
After the group members went their separate ways in 2006, AKA studied sound engineering with ambitions to grow as a musician. He later formed part of production group IV League.
AKA eventually went solo, becoming one of the most celebrated musicians in South Africa, taking on the nickname Super Mega. In his spectacular career, he released six musical projects, including two that were joint albums with Anatii and Costa Titch. He won multiple accolades at the South African Music Awards, Metro FM Awards, and MTV Music Awards.
At the time of his death, AKA was putting the finishing touches on what will be a posthumous release titled Mass Country. His death will leave a significant gap in South Africa’s music industry.