/ 9 February 2024

Closure elusive as AKA’s murder remains unsolved

The Inaugural Dstv Mzansi Viewers Choice Awards
Enduring legacy: Rapper AKA, who was gunned down in Durban a year ago. Photo: Frennie Shivambu/Getty Images

The tenth of February marks a sombre anniversary in the music world. It will be exactly a year since the violent death of Kiernan Forbes, the South African hip-hop icon better known as AKA, who was just 35.

On that fateful day, AKA, along with his friend and fellow entrepreneur Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, were gunned down outside a restaurant in Durban.

The time leading up to that evening was filled with anticipation and excitement. AKA was scheduled to perform at the Yugo nightclub, adding another chapter to his illustrious career. 

However, fate had other plans and he never got to take the stage. 

Adding to the heartbreak was the knowledge that AKA’s fourth studio album Mass Country was about to be released. He had posted on social media about it hours before his death.

Fans had eagerly awaited its arrival, yet the album took on a bitter­sweet significance, becoming an unexpected farewell gift from the artist, especially given the content of some of the lyrics.

After his murder, AKA’s parents posted this tribute to him on his social media platforms: “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, Supa Mega, Bhova and the many other names of affection his legion of fans called him by. Our son was loved and gave love in return.”

The authorities embarked on an intense investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

The police said AKA and Motsoane had been approached by two gunmen, who shot them at close range. Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkwanazi later provided an update, revealing they had recovered the weapon. 

“We have identified at least one firearm used and positively identified to have shot and killed Mr Forbes,” he stated, offering a glimmer of hope for closure for AKA’s loved ones and fans.

Despite the initial progress made in the investigation, there have been no other further advances. 

This week, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda reiterated they would only provide updates when significant developments occurred. 

The lingering silence serves as a painful reminder of the unresolved nature of AKA’s death. As the music industry and fans reflect on the one-year anniversary of AKA’s death, his legacy continues. 

His influence on hip-hop in South Africa and beyond is undeniable, stretching beyond the boundaries of his genre. 

From his chart-topping hits to his outspoken advocacy, AKA left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.