AKA’s first interview

South African rapper AKA sat down for his first interview following the death of his fiancée and traditional wife, Anele “Nellie” Tembe. Tembe fell to her death in mid-April and AKA, real name Kiernan Forbes, has been in the spotlight since – especially after leaked videos showed the pair had a violent and tumultuous relationship. 

So, the hotly anticipated interview on Saturday was closely watched. Forbes discussed the events leading up to Tembe’s fall from the tenth floor of a Cape Town hotel. 

Here are some of the main take-aways (remember, this is his version of events and hasn’t been confirmed or denied by authorities):

  • Tembe had a history of suicide attempts and mental illness, and was on medication. One leaked video showed her being talked off a ledge. Forbes said it happened in Durban and she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital afterwards. 
  • She had often threatened to kill herself. 
  • The argument that preceded her death lasted all night. She walked to the balcony in the early hours of the morning, threatening to jump. He felt he had to remove himself from the situation to calm her down, called security and went to the bathroom. Sometime during this period, she jumped. 
  • He cannot remember the argument that led to him breaking down a door to a room in which she was locked, an event shown in one of the leaked videos. He said he never hit her. 
  • Forbes repeatedly described the relationship as “passionate” in reference to the extreme emotions evinced in leaked footage. 

The interview was handled with a deft touch by local broadcaster Thembekile Mrototo, and AKA seemed to have been well prepped, striking a convincing note of regret and innocence. The investigation into Tembe’s death is ongoing. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates

(Photo Credit: AKA instagram)