South African rapper AKA was assassinated, say police

The artist was fatally shot outside a restaurant last week

Police have said that the killing of South African rapper AKA was likely to have been an assassination.

The Cape Town-born artist – real name Kiernan Jarryd Forbes – was fatally shot outside a restaurant in the coastal city of Durban last Friday night (February 10), according to BBC News.

KwaZulu-Natal police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said the gunman had approached the 35-year-old from behind before shooting him at close range in the side of the head.


According to Mkhwanazi, a second gunman then began firing to deter onlookers from responding to the “hit”. One of these rounds killed celebrity chef Tibz Motsoane, a friend of AKA’s.

Evidence gathered so far has led police to believe AKA was assassinated.

Officers have said they know the identities of the “two shooters” involved. They are still checking the identities of all of the individuals who were present at the scene on the night in question. No arrests have been made.

Investigators are using the suspects’ data to piece together their communication and movements in the run-up to the killings as they continue with their attempts to establish exactly what happened.

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Police Commissioner Lt Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said: “We know that the aim was to first kill AKA, and the second suspect could have killed any other [person] because they fired a couple of shots – so anybody who was on the way could have been hit.”


Tony Forbes, AKA’s father, has asked people to stop speculating online about the circumstances of his son’s death. He said the family is focusing on giving the late rapper “a dignified send-off”.

AKA is due to be buried this Saturday (February 18) following a public memorial service at The Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg tomorrow (February 17). You’ll be able to live-stream the ceremony here.

The artist, who won numerous awards in South Africa for his music, began his career as part of the rap group Entity before going solo. He was also recognised on the global stage, receiving nominations for a Black Entertainment Television Award (BET) in the US and an MTV Europe Music Award.

AKA shared a post about his upcoming fourth album ‘Mass Country’ on social media just hours before his death. The record is set for release next Friday (February 24), and will feature the 2022 single ‘Lemons (Lemonade)’.

In a statement today (February 16), AKA’s family said they were “choosing to continue with the release” of the record “to honour his legacy”.

Nivo, who was AKA’s manager and co-executive producer of ‘Mass Country’, explained: “The team was extremely blessed to work so closely on this project with Kiernan. We spent a lot of time mapping out this roll out and creating all the content we have under his direction.

“Kiernan worked tremendously hard on this project. He put his heart and soul into it, and we were blessed that Kiernan got the opportunity to map out this entire roll out and approve all the elements, so what will be coming out will be as per his direction and his vision.

“We thank the Forbes family for their faith in the entire team working on this project.”

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