Durban - As Anele “Nellie” Tembe’s body lay in a white casket and music filled the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre during her funeral on Friday, the mystery of her death still lingered. However, her family was clear that she was not suicidal and did not have a mental illness.
Instead, they said it was drugs and alcohol abuse to blame.
Tembe, 22, and recently got engaged to rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes, 33, fell to her death from the tenth floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town, the weekend the couple were set to begin their pre-marital counselling.
Tembe’s father, Moses, a Durban businessman described her as an assertive, independent young woman and shared that she had a dream of opening the first Michelin Star graded restaurant in the country.
Tembe said he was happy when he was introduced to AKA but that he had one condition for the couple - to go for proper premarital counselling.
“I knew Kiernan loved my daughter but I knew their enduring companionship needed more than just love. It had to be premised and embedded on a godly foundation,” he said.
“They were due for premarital counselling on the weekend of misfortune. I was determined to assist the both of them in conquering their challenges.”
Dispelling the notion that his daughter had committed suicide in the early hours of last Sunday morning, he stated that she loved herself and had much to live for.
“I cannot allow an unfortunate narrative go unchallenged, a narrative that irks me to no end as a father, and which is maliciously pervaded in some circles, that Anele was chronically suicidal or had suicidal tendencies,” he said.
“As Anele’s father, I hereby state categorically that she was neither suicidal nor did she commit suicide. We need to understand forces that put us in situations that we find ourselves.”
He lamented the abuse of drugs and alcohol suggesting intervention was needed if young people were to have a chance at success. He encouraged his daughter’s fiancé AKA to turn to the lord as he faced the pain of losing his love.
“I think I know what you are going through, I know the pain that you are feeling. Bigger women and men resort to all sorts of remedies or what they consider to be remedies. My son, I invite you to turn to the Lord and in doing so you’ll be assured of becoming a much better man,” he said.
Shawn Herbst, Netcare 911 spokesperson said paramedics were called to the scene around 8am on Sunday where a young woman had allegedly jumped from the 10th floor landing on the road below.
“Medics assessed the patient who had sustained critical injuries and was treated on scene by an advanced life support paramedic. While stabilizing the patient, her condition rapidly deteriorated and she was sadly declared deceased on the scene.”
Captain Frederick van Wyk of the Western Cape SAPS said there were no new developments on the case at this stage.
“Please be advised that the case is still under investigation.”
Effi Ella, general manager at the Pepperclub Hotel did not respond to the Sunday Tribune.