The popular South African rapper AKA was shot dead outside a restaurant in Durban on Friday in what police are calling a targeted “hit.”
The 35-year-old, whose real name was Kiernan Forbes, was with a friend when a pair of gunmen approached and opened fire. Forbes’ friend was also killed.
The motive of the shooting is not yet clear, but the police say that Forbes was the intended target and that celebrity chef Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane was likely killed in the crossfire.
A gunman walked up to Forbes from behind and executed him at point-blank range with a shot to the side of the head, KwaZulu-Natal police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said. An accomplice then began firing shots to scare away onlookers, killing Motsonae.
The suspects have been identified but remain at large.
Forbes had a performance in Durban the night of his untimely murder. He had been recognized as one of South Africa’s most successful rappers and was the recipient of numerous Black Entertainment Television (BET) Award nominations in the United States.
His grieving family said Forbes “loved and gave love in return.”
“To us, Kiernan Jarryd Forbes was a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend, most importantly father to his beloved daughter Kairo,” the family wrote.
Forbes’ slaying comes two years after the eerie death of his former fiancée, Anele “Nelli” Tembe, who fell from a 10th floor hotel balcony in Cape Town.
The police opted not to prosecute the case. Forbes had said that he and his fiancée had been fighting a lot and that Tembe was suicidal, although her father disputed the “unfortunate narrative” that she killed herself.
Moses Tembe issued a statement expressing his condolences to Forbes’ family after his shocking murder.
“His music contributes meaningfully to South Africa’s and indeed Africa’s rich music tapestry. We therefore extend our condolences to his extended family – his fans. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.
The slaying prompted a response from the elected officials in the politically restive country, which has one of the world’s highest murder rates.
MP Beauty Dlulane pointed to a “new scourge of what seems to be contract and revenge killings where performing artists and DJs seem to be targeted.”
Forbes also had a daughter with the producer DJ Zinhle.