AKA (rapper)

AKA Supa Mega.jpg
AKA in 2018
Kiernan Jarryd Forbes

(1988-01-28) 28 January 1988 (age 34)
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Other names
  • AKA
  • SupaMega
  • Bhovamania
EducationSt John's College, Johannesburg
  • Rapper
  • songwriter
ChildrenKairo Owethu Forbes
AwardsFull list
Musical career
GenresHip hop
Years active2002–present
  • Vth Season
  • Beam Group (former)[2]
Sony Music Africa

Kiernan Jarryd Forbes (born 28 January 1988),[3] known professionally as AKA, is a South African rapper. Born and raised in Cape Town, Forbes gained significance after releasing his single "Victory Lap" which was released from his debut studio album, Altar Ego (2011).

Forbes continued his success by releasing studio albums which include Levels (2014), Touch My Blood (2018), Bhovamania (2020) and the collaborative album, Be Careful What You Wish For alongside Anatii (2017).

In April 2020 Forbes alongside vodka brand Cruz launched the watermelon-flavoured drink with his initial on the bottles.[4] That same month, Forbes was featured as a special guest on WWE Live events which were held in Johannesburg and Cape Town.[5] As for 2019, he was the roastee for the Comedy Central Roast special.

Life and career

1988–2013: Early life, beginnings and Alter Ego

In 2002, Forbes alongside his two friends Vice Versa and Greyhound, formed a hip hop group called Entity.[6] The group received a nominee on the KORA Awards for the Best African Hip Hop category. Entity disbanded in 2006, leading Forbes to go study sound engineering.[7] In 2006, Forbes co-founded the production collective The I.V League alongside two other members.[8] The I.V League made production credits for artists including Khuli Chana, ProKid and JR. In 2009, he released three songs, which include "In My Walk", "I Do" and "Mistakes".

On 28 July 2010, Forbes released "I Want It All", which is the lead single from his debut studio album, Altar Ego.[9] The album also pre-released two singles which was "All I Know" and "Victory Lap". "Victory Lap" was a success as it topped South African local radio charts.[10] Alter Ego was then released on 23 August 2011. The album was certified gold by RiSA for its commercial success. The album won several accolades-notably being for the 2011 Metro FM Awards winning for Best Hip Hop Album, and the 2012 South African Music Awards for Best Male Artist of the Year.[11]

2014–2017: Levels and Be Careful What You Wish For

Forbes released his second album, Levels on 30 June 2014.[12] The album was supported by four singles: "Jealousy", "Kontrol" (featuring Da L.E.S), "Congratulate" and "Run Jozi (Godly)" which features KO and Yanga. The album was certified platinum as for 2014, and double platinum for 2018 by RiSA.[13][14]

On 2 December 2016, Forbes released the lead single "The World is Yours" from his future third album.[15] With delay of its release, Forbes ventured with associated act Anatii in composing a collaborative album, Be Careful What You Wish For. Be Careful What You Wish For was released on 28 July 2017, with positive response from critics.[16] It was supported by three singles: "10 Fingers", "Don't Forget To Pray" and "Holy Mountain".

2018–2019: Touch My Blood

With the pre-release of "The World is Yours" in 2016, Forbes also pre-released songs including "Caiphus Song", "Star Signs" (featuring Stogie T) and "Sweet Fire" in supporting the release of his third album, Touch My Blood. Concerning the album's front cover, Forbes took to Twitter announcing a contention for graphic designers in designing the artwork for his album, using his clear face portrait.[17] As numerous entries were sent, Forbes chose the winner named Taonga, who received an internship with Beam Group. Before fifteen days of its release, he released the controversial single "Beyonce" which was a dismissive song dedicated to his past partner Bonang Matheba.[18] Touch My Blood was then released on 15 June 2018 as it was set to release on 25 May 2018 but then delayed for taking time in building its promotion.[19] The album was certified platinum then later certified double platinum by RiSA as for 2019.[20] Touch My Blood sixth single "Fela in Versace" featuring Kiddominant received higher commercial success compared to the other singles.The album features guest appearances from fellow South African artists including L-Tido, JR, Yanga Chief, Stogie T, Kwesta & Okmalumkoolkat, as well as a sole international appearance by Nigerian artist and producer Kiddominant.[21]

On 8 April 2019, Forbes was featured on a WWE live event in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa.[22] In February 2019, he was the featured roastee in Comedy Central SA annual roast special.[23]

2020–present: Bhovamania

On 6 November 2021, AKA's Extended Play Bhovamania was released.[24] The EP was supported by four singles: "Energy", "Python", "Monuments" and "Cross My Heart". At the 10 ceremony of South African Hip Hop Awards, he received nomination for Artist of the Decade.[25]

Personal life

Forbes began dating producer DJ Zinhle at the end of 2014. After receiving several South African Hip Hop Awards accolades, Zinhle hinted at their relationship by tweeting "Congratulations to my winner".[26] The couple have a daughter named Kairo Olwethu Forbes, born on 8 July 2015.[27] In August 2015, Forbes and Zinhle split after it was revealed that Forbes allegedly cheated on Zinhle with television presenter Bonang Matheba.[28] As Forbes and Matheba denied the allegations, they declared as they revealed their relationship in 2016. Forbes and Matheba broke up in December 2017.[29] However, Forbes and Zinhle got back together in late 2018, although later in 2019 they broke up again.[30]

On 21 February 2021, Forbes posted a picture on Instagram announcing his engagement to girlfriend Nelli Tembe.[31] On 11 April 2021, Tembe died after a fall from a hotel in Cape Town.[32]

Following the death of his fiancé Nellie Thembe, reports emerged that Forbes had been on drugs. Forbes then issued a public statement in response saying he would not be drawn into exposing their troubles as a couple to defend himself against "one-sided views".[33] The rapper's statement came in the wake of a News24 report, which claimed to have seen images where Forbes can be seen using his hands to violently break down a wooden door to enter the bedroom in their apartment in Bryanston, Johannesburg, where Tembe was hiding. The incident allegedly took place on 13 March 2021, almost a month before her death.[34]


Studio albums

Awards and nominations

Year Award Ceremony Prize Recipient/Nominated work Result Notes
2012 18th South African Music Awards Best Male Artist Altar Ego Won
2013 Channel O Africa Music Video Awards Most Gifted Hip Hop Himself Nominated
2014 African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Male, Southern Africa[35] Nominated
Best Rap Act[35] Nominated
MTV Africa Music Awards Best Hip Hop Nominated
Channel O Africa Music Video Awards Most Gifted Hip Hop Nominated
2015 African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Male Southern Africa Won
Best Collaboration Won
MTV Africa Music Awards Best Collaboration Won
21st South African Music Awards Best Male Artist[36] Levels Won
Kora Awards Best African Hip Hop Nominated
BET Awards Best International Act (Africa) Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Nominated
M.O.B.O. Awards Best International Act (Africa)
4th South African Hip Hop Awards Best Collaboration AKA – Baddest (featuring Burna Boy, Khuli Chana and Yanga) Nominated
Anatii – The Saga (featuring AKA) Won
Most Valuable Artist
  • Levels (Gold album)
  • Congratulate (Gold single)
  • All Eyes on Me (Gold single)
  • Run Jozi (Godly) (Gold single)
Most Digital Sales Won
Song of the Year Anatii – The Saga (featuring AKA) Won
AKA – Baddest Won
Video of the Year AKA – All Eyes on Me Nominated
Anatii – The Saga (featuring AKA) Won
Da L.E.S – P.A.I.D (featuring AKA and Burna Boy) Nominated
AKA – Sim Dope Nominated
2016 15th Metro FM Music Awards Best Collaboration AKA – Baddest (featuring Burna Boy, Khuli Chana and Yanga) Won
Best Hit Single Won
Best Remix AKA – Baddest Remix (featuring Fifi Cooper, Rouge, Moozlie and Gigi Lamayne) Nominated
22nd South African Music Awards Best Collaboration AKA – All Eyes on Me (featuring Redsan, Burna Boy and Stonebwoy) Nominated
Best Remix. AKA – Baddest (featuring Fifi Cooper, Rouge, Moozlie and Gigi Lamayne) Nominated
BET Awards 2016 Best International Act[37] Nominated
2017 BET Awards 2017 Best International Act Himself Nominated
2019 2019 Kids' Choice Awards Favourite South African Star Himself Won
BET Awards 2019 Himself Nominated
Namibia Annual Music Awards 2019 Pan African Artist of the Year Won
2020 26th South African Music Awards Music Video of the Year AKA – Jika ft YangaChief Won
2021 MTV Africa Music Awards 2021 Best Lockdown Performance Himself Pending [38]


  1. ^ "AKA and Bonang – why it's never a good look to trash your exes and the lesson we can learn from it". News24. 1 June 2018. Archived from the original on 20 October 2021. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  2. ^ KEKANA, CHRIZELDA. "AKA's Beam Group is shutting down!". TimesLIVE. TSHISALIVE. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  3. ^ Valerii, Eddy (24 September 2020). "AKA Biography – The Rapper's Age, Real Name and Life Story". Buzz South Africa.
  4. ^ "AKA Launches Signature Cruz Vodka". HuffPost.
  5. ^ "WATCH: AKA takes bars into wrestling ring". eNCA.
  6. ^ "Hip-hop Entity making waves". IOL.
  7. ^ "#FlashBackFriday: Entity (AKA)". News24.
  8. ^ "The Story of How Pro Gave AKA & IV League Their Biggest Break". OkayAfrica. 17 August 2018.
  9. ^ "A.K.A – Alter Ego". Livemag.
  10. ^ "AKA's "Victory Lap"". News24.
  11. ^ "Newcomers dominate at Metro awards". TimesLIVE.
  12. ^ "AKA – Levels album review". Livemag.
  13. ^ "AKA's LEVELS album goes Platinum". People.
  14. ^ "AKA celebrates reaching the top position on SA radio charts". East Coast Radio.
  15. ^ Mphuthi, Pearl. "AKA's The World Is Yours". People. Archived from the original on 1 May 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  16. ^ "AKA and Anatii drop 'Be Careful What You Wish For' album". East Coast Radio.
  17. ^ "AKA announces winner of Touch My Blood challenge, reveals album covers". Political Analysis. 9 May 2018.
  18. ^ "AKA drops major files on #Beyonce & the internet is a mess". TimesLIVE.
  19. ^ "AKA postpones Touch My Blood album release to 15 June 2018". Political Analysis South Africa. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  21. ^ "AKA celebrates reaching the top position on SA radio charts". Political Analysis. 7 August 2018.
  22. ^ "WATCH | AKA owns the WWE ring with his spicy raps". TimesLIVE.
  23. ^ "The 2018 Comedy Central Roast of AKA". Joburg Further, he is one of South Africa's most expensive artists to book for a performance, after he confirmed on twitter a performance would setback a promoter 20000.00$ internationally or R300000.00 locally as of February 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic he has also used his prior endorsement with Vodacom a popular cellular network to launch his app "AKATV" which has content uploaded to users who pay a monthly subscription fee of R50/30$. He has had notable guests on his show the "BraaiShow" such as Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, fellow hip hop compatriot Siyabonga "Scoop" Makhathini, to name a few. 8 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Listen to AKA's New EP 'Bhovamania' Featuring Sho Madjozi, Flvme, K.O, Grandmaster Ready D and More – OkayAfrica". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  25. ^ Bukola (2 November 2021). "Full list of 2021 SA Hip Hop Awards nominees | Fakaza News". Fakaza News. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Rapper AKA and Dj Zinhle Finally Make Their Relationship Official". OkMzansi. 18 December 2014.
  27. ^ "8 times birthday girl Kairo was the most adorable celeb tot ever". News24.
  28. ^ "The year that was for AKA, Zinhle and Bonang". Channel24.
  29. ^ "AKA finally speaks out on Bonang split". The Citizen. February 2018.
  31. ^ "AKA Is Engaged 💍". Bellanaija.com. 22 February 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  32. ^ "AKA 'inconsolable', Anele Tembe's family confirms her 'untimely passing'". News24.com. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  33. ^ "AKA responds to reports of 'violence and drugs' in his relationship with Nelli Tembe". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  34. ^ Bhengu, Lwandile. "PICS | Rapper AKA broke down a door to get to Anele Tembe – a month before her death". News24. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  35. ^ a b "See Nominees for the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) 2014". Bellanaija. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  36. ^ "Home – Samasama". Samusicawards.co.za. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  37. ^ "AKA, Cassper Nyovest, DJ Black Coffee NOMINATED for 2016 BET Awards and more African artists". theedgesearch.com. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  38. ^ "MTV Africa Music Awards 2021: All the nominees". Music In Africa. 27 January 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.


South African rappers]]