Continued shootings directed at celebrities sparks conversation on rampant crime

AKA. Picture: Instagram

AKA. Picture: Instagram

Published Feb 13, 2023


Johannesburg - The gruesome death of Kiernan Forbes, who was affectionately known as AKA, has sparked a conversation on gun violence that is growing to be rampant in South Africa.

Forbes was 35 years old when he was shot dead outside a popular Durban restaurant, Wish, while saying his goodbyes to friends.

The news of his saddening death was confirmed by his family hours after speculations had been swirling around social media, with many of his fans reeling in shock.

Gun violence has been on the rise in South Africa and has made headlines with a number of mass shootings in different parts of the country.

In November, Police Minister Bheki Cele released the second quarter crime statistics for 2022/23.

During the latest release of the crime statistics, Major-General Norman Sekhukhune said murder increased by 13.6% to 7 004 and was the highest in the Eastern Cape, followed by KZN, the Western Cape, and Gauteng.

July was the worst month during the three-month period, with 28 565 recorded serious crimes, compared with 12 596 recorded in August and 10 830 in September.

Speaking to “IOL” earlier this year, anti-firearm advocacy group, Gun Free SA (GFSA), said it believed the country was experiencing a gun violence epidemic.

To reduce deaths as a result of firearms, the circulation of firearms must be reduced, it said.

"The biggest source of illegal guns in South Africa are legal guns owned by civilians, which includes the private security industry.

"Legal guns and the main supply of illegal guns are flooding into this country. Gun dealers have reported an increase in the demand for guns and ammunition, particularly after the July 2021 unrest," the group said.

Mary de Haas of the KwaZulu-Natal Violence Monitor also previously stated that almost all illegal firearms were legal before they were leaked into the "illegal pool". This happened via loss and theft, fraud, corruption, poor law enforcement, cross-border trafficking, and conflict guns, she said.

"There are historic stockpiles, guns coming over the border, and far too many going missing from the police and the military, not to mention in the hands of dubious security companies," De Haas was reported as saying.

While illegal firearms continue to circulate, innocent lives are taken daily.

The Forbes family requested privacy as they grieved their tragic loss. “In this time of grief, we appeal for your compassion, space, and time to congregate as a family to decide on the upcoming days. We thank you for the love and support we have received thus far and ask you to continue to keep us in your prayers and uplifted in the Lord.”

"We are co-operating with the SAPS and have handed over all surveillance footage from the evening in question,“ the Wish restaurant said.

“We are awaiting further communication from the SAPS and the investigation officer working on the case.

“We would like to extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to both the Forbes and Motsoane families, and as such, we will remain closed until further notice."

The pair's deaths come shortly after those of other well-known stars such as DJ Sumbody and Vusi Ma R5, who were also gunned down by unknown assailants while in pursuit of their performances.

The continued shootings of celebrities have commanded public attention, calling into question safety and prevalence of gun violence in South Africa, which appears to be out of control.

The list of celebrities who have been brutally murdered without a trace or apprehension of their perpetrators has become the norm, which has raised concerns.

Supa Mega, as Forbes was affectionately known, boasted a stunning repertoire of music that his fans will remember him for.

Not only did he have numerous accolades under his belt, but AKA went beyond South African borders, building his brand with giants such as Nigeria’s Burna Boy.

Additional reporting by Robin-Lee Francke of IOL.

The Star

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