AKA's death — here are the facts so far

13 February 2023 - 13:18
subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now
Rapper AKA was shot dead in Durban on Friday February 10.
Rapper AKA was shot dead in Durban on Friday February 10.
Image: Instagram/AKA via Thotloetso Kutlwano Mogotsi

Investigations into the death of the late rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes are continuing as details around his death come to light.

AKA was shot dead at a popular restaurant in Durban's Florida Road on Friday night. The fatal shooting also resulted in the death of his lifelong friend, wine owner and book author Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane.

Police were still combing the scene for evidence late on Saturday and Sunday, after widely shared CCTV footage. 

What happened

On Friday night, the death of the celebrated rapper sent shocking waves after images of police blocking the road at the restaurant circulated on social media.

Hours before his death, AKA, seen on his Instagram Stories, shared videos of him travelling to KwaZulu-Natal, where one of the first places he went to was a gym.

The rapper, who was visibly excited to be in the province, got a fresh haircut at Bryd & Groom, before being seen indulging in sea food at local restaurant Wish with former Dream Team member Lusasa “Saso” Ngcobo, DJ and producer Benny Maverick among other friends. 

AKA was billed to make an appearance at YūGō social club for his birthday celebration tour.

Gun shots

The Composure hit maker is the third artist to be gunned down in the past four months in South Africa.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, ALS paramedic Garrith Jamieson said the 35-year-old sustained multiple gunshot wounds. 

Jamieson explained that just after 10.15pm, they responded to a shooting incident where two men sustained multiple gunshot wounds.

“On arrival, paramedics met total chaos and a scene where two men, believed to be in their late 30s, sustained multiple gunshot wounds. 

“Paramedics assisted the men and unfortunately the first male showed no signs of life and was declared deceased at the scene.”

According to sources, a third person was also injured during the shooting and was taken to hospital privately.

The killers

Two men have been identified as suspects in the case after CCTV footage was shared online.

Police in KwaZulu-Natal said information at their disposal at this stage indicate AKA and Tibz were walking towards their vehicle from the restaurant when they were allegedly approached by two armed suspects who shot the victims at close range. 

“The suspects are reported to have fled from 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,” said police. 

Police pleaded with anyone who might have information which can assist in the investigation and lead to the apprehension of the suspects to contact the nearest police station or Crime Stop on 08600-10111. Alternatively, tip-offs can be relayed via the MySAPS app.

Police investigation

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport and community safety Sipho Hlomuka said highly qualified teams of investigators have been assigned to bring the perpetrators to book.

Hlomuka, the chairperson of the provincial justice crime prevention and security cluster (JCPS), said he received a report from the provincial commissioner of police, Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

“We cannot surrender the freedom and safety of our people to criminals. What we are witnessing in our province is totally unacceptable and police have assured us that they are working around the clock to arrest these criminals. We are confident that the police will win this battle,” said Hlomuka.

Witnesses at the scene

Witnesses at the scene described to TimesLIVE what they saw when they arrived at the scene. 

A resident who lives near the restaurant, who asked not to be named, rushed to the scene after the gunshots.

“It was a very dreadful and painful thing to happen,” the resident said. 

“For a very popular person like him to be killed on a busy road like this is just shocking. The whole road was blocked and people came out to the scene. Whoever did this chose to shoot him in Durban because they knew it was more relaxed, especially on Florida Road.”

'An assassination'

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula claimed AKA was assassinated.

Speaking outside AKA's home in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Mbalula said he was confident the police will crack the case. 

“We can't make speculations, but we know and have seen, it was a hit. AKA was assassinated,” he said. “We believe in the capacity of the police to dig deep and get the killers and also get to the bottom of why it happened.”

A source close to the Fela In Versace hit maker claimed that after his fiancée Anele “Nelli” Tembe's death the rapper received several warnings never to step foot in Durban again. The source, who is also close to a former business associate of AKA’s, said this person had been warned to distance himself from the singer. 

Nelli's father, Moses Tembe, denied speculation suggesting he or his family were involved in the rapper's death, telling Sunday Times: “Anyone who truly knows me and our family would not spread such rumours. We’ve never judged Kiernan. We demonstrated our love for him to the very last day.”

Nelli died in April 2021 at the Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town after she apparently fell from the 10th floor of the hotel.

Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.

subscribe Just R20 for the first month. Support independent journalism by subscribing to our digital news package.
Subscribe now

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.