Sangoma Explains Why Cops May Never Catch AKA’s Killers

Only a few hours after the hair-rising news that one of the greatest forces in African urban music, Kiernan “AKA” Forbes had been gunned down on Durban’s Florida Road in South Africa on a night out, came the video footage that brought to shocking light how his life had come to an end in the cold hands of his yet to be identified assassins.

In one moment, the Fela in Versace hitmaker is standing with a friend, giving a hug that, although it may not have been known to anyone alongside him on that brightly lit Durban street, is the last farewell he would ever give to anyone.

In a flash, his goodbyes are rudely interrupted, as a gunman coldly walks up to him, puts a gun besides his head and pulls the trigger. There is a brief flash, as the gun spits out a red hot flame, a tell-tale spark that fells one of the most prolific and controversial African hip-hop giants from the last decade-and-a-half.

As a pool of blood floods the pavement, AKA’s killer and a fellow assailant who had killed AKA’s friend who in the vicinity, run at full tilt across the road and are immediately swallowed by the darkness that awaits them across the street.

From that brief video, less than a minute long, it became fairly obvious that the South African star had just had a brush with the darkest corners of the criminal underworld.

In a South Africa drowning in crime, most of which is attributable to the grinding poverty and inequality in the country, it was painfully obvious that this was brutal murder that did not seem motivated by a desire to rob a wealthy man of his expensive belongings.

This was a brutal murder, seemingly carried out in a co-ordinated efficient manner. Over a fortnight later, the killers are still at large, indicating that this was a professional hit by men who knew how to leave no trace, even though they carried out their dastardly act in the full view of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.

For South Africans, the death of an entertainer in a hail of bullets was not new and it immediately reopened fresh wounds. In less than half-a-year, AKA, DJ Sumbody and Vusi Ma R5 have all been gunned down by unknown assailants who have seemingly disappeared after carrying out their “hits”.

For Zimbabweans, particularly those in Matabeleland South, the execution style murder of AKA also carried echoes of a killing that happened close to their own doorsteps.

In 2019, businessman Tapson Ncube was brutally shot dead in his home in Maphisa in the wee hours of an October morning.
Ncube, who had business interests in mining, transport, retail and also sponsored Division One soccer outfit The Venue, died on the spot following a shoot-out with unknown gunmen.

His killers took nothing from the house and left Ncube’s terrified wife cowering in a bathroom as they melted into the night. In all these cases, speculation has been rife about the motive for the killings.

In Ncube’s case, some alleged that his murder was because of business deals gone wrong south of the Limpopo, while in the cases of DJ Sumbody and Ma R5, speculation is rife that they had allegedly offended drug sharks who were using their nightclubs to launder their cash.

In AKA’s case, some claim that his killing was payback for the heart-breaking death of his ex-fiancé, Anele Tembe. Tembe’s family has however, distanced themselves from the death of the singer. While there are many questions about these murders, answers have been as elusive as the killers of these men.

However, an interview with an inkabi (assassin) on Sabc recently shed some life on the dark world that these men inhabit. According to the anonymous hitman whose face was not shown on camera in the interview by the South African broadcaster, carrying out a hit requires one to be not only cold-blooded but painstaking as well.

In later videos that surfaced of AKA’s killing, it seemed that he was stalked like prey by his would-be murderers during his final moments. According to the inkabi, the business of carrying out a murder is rarely cut and dry. Instead they rely on a sophisticated system that demand investment in both money and time.

“This job requires boldness and bravery. You should not have a conscience. You should be able to sit and eat with a person then later on kill them because you have been paid to do so. Our clients are high ranking people. I operate like the intelligence. I research about my targets. I monitor their movements. I find out about their habits. I research where they live. I have to be thorough to avoid mistakes. I hack their phones to see who they communicate with,” he said in an interview with Sabc.

According to inkabi, their targets are usually betrayed by people in their inner circle. After AKA’s murder, conspiracy theorists ran amok, dissecting the video showing his final moments and concluding that long-time friend Don Design allegedly seemed to co-ordinate the attack with the killers through subtle communication.

However, police have not commented on these claims while those close to AKA have dismissed them with contempt.
“Our victims are usually sold out by their bodyguards. We offer them money. They are human too. We make them understand we are doing our job just like them. They also know that if they don’t cooperate they’re also putting their lives at risk. We don’t want your children to starve. You’re not the target.

We tell them when their boss dies, they will easily find another job. We also work with the police. They are human too,” he claimed.
The killer also highlighted how while they might seem heartless as they carry out their act, they, however, usually turn to church to clear their conscience and surrender themselves to their maker.

“You find us in church a lot. We go there to ask for forgiveness. We believe more than all the other congregants. We pray to be cleansed because we kill people for a living,” he said.

While they might believe in God, inkabi however, put their faith in more than one religion. According to the hitman, before they strike at any target, they consult a traditional healer, asking for a clear path while gauging the spiritual strength of their intended target.

“If I’m satisfied with my research I then consult the ancestors of my target and I do a ritual in the river, asking for permission to kill them because they are troublesome. It all depends on the client, there are high ranking people, business people and ordinary people.

The fee is determined by their status. But the minimum charge is R40 000. If you’re hired to kill a politician, the first thing you do is consult to see which muthi they use. Is it South African muthi or muthi from other countries. After this, I then smear the bullets with muthi so that the gun doesn’t jam. After that I go and find my target,” he said.

According to a traditional healer, Gogo MaKhumalo, a cleansing ritual involving a goat and an okapi knife seals the deal when an assassination has been successfully completed.

“I require a goat and an okapi knife which I take to the river together with my client. I cleanse them in the river, and then at the end, I close the okapi knife. This symbolises the end of the case. This is also preventing the spirit of the dead from haunting my client. Payment is non-negotiable,” according to the interview.

Read Also: Mass Country “Foretold AKA’s Death”

It is perhaps no wonder that the n’angas or sangomas that “cleanse” inkabi demand a guaranteed premium for their services. After all, in this industry when a person’s stay on earth can be put to an end with the exchange of fat envelopes beneath a table, nothing comes cheap.

A taxi boss revealed to South Africa’s TimeLive that AKA’s murder may have cost as much as R250 000. According to the publication’s investigation, hitmen charge from R10 000 for an ordinary person with no bodyguard, soaring up to R500 000 or a million rand for more dangerous people.
“The more dangerous you are, the more costly the services.

It can go all the way to R500 000 or even a million, depending on how dangerous the person is. Some assassinations are so complex they can take six months to execute. If you want to kill someone who has a lot of bodyguards, that hit cannot be done in just a few weeks,” the taxi boss revealed.

The taxi boss also told TimeLive that the people who eliminated AKA were most likely experienced professionals because they only killed two people in a group of many.


AKA was killed together with his long-time friend and former manager Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane. It is yet unclear if Tibz was also a target or merely died in the crossfire.

A policeman said Motsoane could have been hit in crossfire as the other assassin fired at the group that was with slain AKA to make sure that no one in that group had time to hit back at the assassin who was running away from the scene after killing AKA.

The taxi boss reiterated that AKA assassins are likely known in KwaZulu Natal, as the industry operates as a network which is ever-growing, with more and more young men trained and hired in taxi wars, political rivalries, and even in dubious business deals.

Research by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) revealed that KZN has the most assassinations in South Africa, standing at 38 percent.-Sunday News

Related Articles

Back to top button