AKA declared he “never planned… never intended to be a celebrity” in the first song of his 2011 smash solo album Altar Ego.
But the South African, who was assassinated in Durban a week ago, was forthright about his abilities.
The 35-year-old award-winning rapper anointed himself the best producer in his genre a few days prior to his death, which authorities believe to have been a targeted homicide.
The musician, also known as Supa Mega, tweeted: “Statistically speaking, considering I’ve created 90% of all my music, certainly I’m the greatest SA hip-hop producer of all time.” This statement sparked a significant discussion.
But, on Congratulate, one of the tracks that cemented his megastar status, he stated that he would be “shining like a diamond that’s everlasting, now congratulate me” in 2014.
On Friday in Johannesburg, thousands of his admirers, collectively known as “The Megacy,” are anticipated to either follow him online or show up for his open memorial, ensuring that he will continue to shine.
Even though he claimed he didn’t want it, he surely became a star.
His life and work, meanwhile, were not without controversy.
Born Kiernan Forbes in Cape Town in 1988, AKA became one of the nation’s most well-known hip-hop artists after putting out three solo albums and working on projects with other artists.
When he was a small child, he lived with his grandparents in Mitchells Plain, one of Cape Town’s riskiest townships where drug use and gang activity are common.
But he subsequently went to Johannesburg with his mother, where he attended St John’s College, an Anglican institution that advertises itself as being “among South Africa’s pre-eminent schools”.
His musical career began there when he joined forces with two high school pals, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh and Nhlanhla Makena, to form the Entity hip-hop group. They later received a KORA All Africa Music Award nomination.
Mpofu-Walsh, who is now a writer and scholar, said in a tribute on Twitter that “he was meant for greatness from then.”
AKA created hits for musicians like ProKid and Kuli Chana after the duo split up to pursue a career in sound engineering.
Later, he worked with artists including Da L.E.S, Nasty C, Kwesta, and Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Burna Boy.
His influence may be seen in the enormous number of musicians, producers, politicians, and celebrities who have paid tribute.
However, in the past five years, there has been increased public interest in his private life as a result of tabloid news stories about his relationships and his breakups.
He dated famous people like DJ Zinhle, with whom he had a daughter who is now 7 years old.
He also did not shy away from public squabbles with other members of the business, including fellow South African rapper Cassper Nyovest and, most notably, Burna Boy.
AKA and the Nigerian got into a dispute during South Africa’s xenophobic confrontations in 2019 after the West African singer advised black migrants in South Africa to defend themselves from attackers.
The rapper’s troubles took a sad turn in 2021 when his 22-year-old fiancée Anele Tembe passed away in questionable circumstances after falling from a Cape Town hotel’s 10th floor.
She was thought to have committed suicide. Moses Tembe, a well-known businessman, rejected this during his daughter’s burial and insisted that his daughter was not suicidal.
AKA published the song Tears Run Dry in her honor as a memento of their romance.
He sung, “When I wake up, I cannot feel the sun because you’re not by my side.”
Nevertheless, after the model passed away, footage that were posted on social media revealed a darker side of the musician, including him slamming doors during one confrontation.
A few weeks after his fiancée’s passing, AKA fought to repair his damaged reputation. He denied ever being aggressive or abusive. South African prosecutors opted not to press charges against him, a decision that was viewed as a vindication for him.
Oscar Mdlongwa, also known as Oskido, a DJ and recording artist from South Africa, was one of those close to AKA who said that Tembe’s passing affected him.
After paying his respects to the family earlier this week, he stated, “As he left this life, he was a transformed Kiernan; you could see that he wasn’t the Kiernan we knew 10 years before.
AKA himself said he was a changed man.
“Sometimes I crave dishing out humble pie like I used to… rubbing people’s faces in it… Being a better person is challenging,” he said.
Authorities suspect he was murdered outside a renowned restaurant in Durban on Friday evening by a hired hitman.
CCTV shows a man crossing the street and moving toward AKA. He then shoots the rapper twice in the head, killing him instantly. AKA and his long-time companion Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane were both murdered.
Assassinating AKA in broad daylight was a hit, according to what is known and has been observed, according to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, who paid a visit to the family on Sunday.
Because AKA was a musician and not a drug king, we need to find out what really happened. Why should he have been slain in that manner? He queried.
AKA posed the question, “What would happen to just a normal dude who has extraordinary talent?” in the opening track of his solo debut album.
That question received a tragic response twelve years later.