Mzansi Profiles! Local AKA Biography| Real Name, Family, Education, Love Life, Music Career, Awards, Death 

AKA Biography| Real Name, Family, Education, Love Life, Music Career, Awards, Death 

AKA Biography| Real Name, Family, Education, Love Life, Music Career, Awards, Death  post thumbnail image

AKA Biography|Real Name, Family, Education, Love Love, Music Career, Awards, Death 

AKA was a popular South African musician, rapper, songwriter, record producer, and entrepreneur. AKA rose to prominence in the music industry in the early 2010s with his unique blend of hip-hop, Afrobeat, and pop music. With numerous awards and accolades to his name, including multiple South African Music Awards (SAMAs), AKA was one of the most successful and influential artists in South Africa and beyond. Beyond his music career, AKA is also known for his business ventures, including his record label, Beam Group, and his popular vodka brand, Cruz Vodka.

Real Name:

AKA’s real name was Kiernan Jarryd Forbes. He chose his stage name AKA as a representation of his versatility.  In a 2016 interview with SA Hip Hop magazine, AKA stated that he is involved in various aspects of music such as producing, songwriting, and performing, among others. Thus, he adopted the name AKA, which stands for “also known as” or “a.k.a.”, to showcase his multiple talents and capabilities.


AKA was born on January 28, 1988, in Cape Town, South Africa. He died on the 10th of February 2023 at the age of 35.


AKA was born and raised in Cape Town. He spent part of his childhood living with his grandmother in Mitchell’s Plain before relocating to Johannesburg in 1995 to live with his mother, Lynn Forbes. AKA’s father, Tony Forbes, and younger brother, Steffan Forbes, are also part of his family.

AKA's family

AKA’s family (Image Credit: Instagram@akaworldwide/SA Hip Hop Mag)


Kiernan attended Holy Cross Convent in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg where he joined Greenside Primary School. Later, he attended St John’s College.

He also studied Sound Engineering.

AKA biography

AKA biography (Image Credit: Instagram @akaworldwide)

Love Life 

AKA and DJ Zinhle’s love affair was characterized by intense drama, making it one of the most talked-about relationships in Mzansi’s history. After meeting in Botswana in 2012, the couple started dating and welcomed their first child together in July 2015. However, their bliss was short-lived as DJ Zinhle revealed on social media just two months later that AKA had cheated on her with Bonang Matheba, leading to their separation.


AKA with Dj Zinhle

AKA with Dj Zinhle and their daughter Kairo(Image Credit: Zalebs)

AKA’s subsequent relationship with Bonang was also controversial, beginning as a love triangle that caused a public uproar when DJ Zinhle accused them of having an affair. Despite initially denying the allegations, AKA eventually admitted to cheating on Zinhle in 2018. His relationship with Bonang ended in late 2017 after dating for two years.

AKA relationship with Bonang Matheba

AKA relationship with Bonang Matheba (Image Credit: Briefly/Buzz South Africa)

During his two-year relationship with Bonang Matheba, AKA was accused of cheating on her with a woman named Nicole Nyaba. Although they both denied the rumours when they surfaced in September 2017, speculation about their alleged romance persisted even after AKA and Bonang had split.

In July 2018, Nicole shared photos on social media that showed her sitting in a house that strongly resembled AKA’s Bryanston mansion. Initially playing it cool, Nicole eventually opened up about their relationship in a 2018 interview, describing AKA as an “amazing boyfriend.” She revealed that they had even lived together for a time but broke up after a heated argument during the Durban July weekend. Shortly after their split, AKA was seen with his ex-girlfriend DJ Zinhle.

Despite the drama, AKA and DJ Zinhle reconciled their relationship in 2018. However, their rekindled romance did not last more than a year, and the couple called it quits again in 2020.

In early 2020, a Twitter video featuring AKA and a young woman named Anele Nellie Tembe caused confusion among fans, who believed that he was still in a relationship with his child’s mother, DJ Zinhle. However, AKA quickly clarified the situation and professed his love for Anele.

In February 2021, AKA got engaged to Anele. A few weeks later, in March 2021 AKA paid the traditional “lobola” to the Tembe family to secure her hand in marriage.

Tragically, AKA’s fiancée, Nelli Tembe, passed away just two weeks after they became engaged. The 22-year-old fell from the 10th floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town.
Following Anele’s death, AKA moved on and got into a relationship with rapper Nadia Nakai. At the time of his death, he was still romantically involved with Nadia Nakai. Rumour has it, he was planning to propose to Nadia Nakai on Valentine’s day.
AKA With Girlfriend

AKA with Nadia Nakai (Image Credit:@nadainakai)

Music Career 

AKA started rapping when he was a teenager. He was part of a hip-hop group called Entity. Vice Versa & Greyhound were also part of the group. Entity’s hit singles include First Gear and Touch & Go.

The trio met in high school in 2004.  They released their debut album, Royal School of Hip hop, in 2005. The album was produced by fellow rapper Slikour. Entity received a nomination at the 2005 KORA Awards in the ‘Best African Hip Hop’ category.

In 2006, Entity disbanded, and AKA decided to pursue a degree in sound engineering. Later, he joined forces with Buks and Kamza to establish a production company known as The IV League.

AKA’s breakthrough as a solo artist came in 2009 with the release of his tracks “Do It,” “Problems,” and “In My Walk.”


AKA biography

AKA (Image Credit: The South African/ IOL)

His debut album, “Altar Ego,” which dropped in 2011, helped solidify his position as one of the top rappers in South Africa. The album earned him several accolades, including “Best Newcomer,” “Best Hip Hop,” and “Best Produced Album” at the Metro FM Music Awards.

AKA continued his success with the release of his chart-topping songs and his albums that were later certified platinum and gold over time.

In addition to his music career, AKA has been involved in various brand collaborations. For instance, in 2018, he partnered with the vodka brand Cruz to launch a watermelon-flavoured drink, which was a significant deal for him at the time of his debut. AKA has also collaborated with other brands, including Reebok.


Studio albums

  • Altar Ego (2011)
  • Levels (2014)
  • Touch My Blood (2018)
  • MASS COUNTRY (2023)

Collaborative albums

  • Be Careful What You Wish For (with Anatii) (2017)

Extended Plays

  • 247/365 E.P (2009)
  • Bhovamania (2020)


AKA gained prominence in the music industry with his debut album “Altar Ego,” which earned him several awards, including a Metro FM Award and a South African Music Award. Throughout his career, he has been recognized for his musical talent and has won numerous awards, including accolades from the African Muzik Magazine Awards, MTV Africa Music Awards, South African Music Awards, and South African

  • Kiernan won a Metro FM Award for Best Hip Hop Album in 2011 and a South African Music Award for Best Male Artist of the Year in 2012 for his debut album, Altar Ego.
  • In 2014, Kiernan won two awards at the African Muzik Magazine Awards, for Best Male Southern Africa and Best Collaboration, as well as an MTV Africa Music Award for Best Collaboration.
  • Kiernan won Best Male Artist at the 21st South African Music Awards in 2014.
  • In 2015, Kiernan won multiple awards at the 4th South African Hip Hop Awards, including Best Collaboration, Most Valuable Artist, Most Digital Sales, Song of the Year, and Video of the Year.


AKA was callously assassinated on the 10th of February 2023 just outside a Wish Restaurant along Florida Road in Morningside, Durban. The fatal shooting also resulted in the death of his lifelong friend, wine owner, and book author Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane.

AKA was scheduled to perform at Yugo nightclub in Durban as part of his birthday celebrations.

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