Hip-hop sensation AKA has had his fair share of media scrutiny in the past. From the scandalous timelines that surrounded his relationship with DJ Zinhle and media personality Bonang Matheba to his continued beef with rapper Cassper Nyovest that’s spanned more than three years.
This year, the scandals that have seemed to follow the renowned rapper took a dark turn, with the death of his fiancée Anele “Nelli” Tembe, who died after falling from the 10th floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town.
In honour of Tembe, AKA has released a brand new track, Tears Run Dry.
The song opens with the lyrics: The first thing on my mind/ when I wake up. I cannot feel sunshine/ because you’re not by my side/ and nothing else/ can replace her.
While at surface level the lyrics seem to be a beautiful reminder of the love the two shared, and his difficulties in moving on from her sudden death, we cannot escape the realities of their cataclysmic love.
Judging by their social media posts, their relationship seemed to be filled with joy, love and laughter. Both Tembe and AKA took every chance they had to showcase their love online. However, when Tembe passed away, the plaster was ripped off, as fans were quickly introduced to the other side of their relationship.
Videos surfaced online showing altercations between the two. A violent AKA was seen breaking down doors and gas lighting Tembe’s mental distress.
Tembe’s death is still being investigated – after initially being investigated as a suicide case, it was referred back to the police as a potential homicide case.
Brands were quick to cut ties with the rapper or put their business deals on hold.
The rapper was soon in a battle for his integrity, and took to the Thembekile Talk YouTube channel in a tacky effort to redeem himself, just a few weeks after Tembe’s death.
Tembe’s father, Moses Tembe, revealed that the family was not on speaking terms with AKA, after initially presenting a united front, releasing media statements together and rallying behind the star in mourning Tembe’s tragic death.
He said at the time that the speech he made at his daughter’s funeral remains true.
“As Anele’s father, I categorically state that Anele was neither suicidal nor did she commit suicide. We must, as a matter of priority, deal with the scourge that bedevils our youth – alcohol which is overused – and drugs. Fellow South Africans, we had better wake up and smell the coffee; we have a serious problem with substance abuse.
“I cannot allow an unfortunate narrative to go unchallenged, a narrative that irks me to no end … [which is] that is Anele was chronically suicidal. All I can say is, until Anele turned 21, not a single member of her family – my family – would have associated her with suicide,” he said.
AKA has previously said that he had to talk his fiancée off the ledge, as she had alluded to wanting to end her own life.
This deepens the controversy surrounding the release of his latest track, and in some ways feels like the exploitation of a very real death.
This conversation comes at a time where tensions in South Africa have been growing over domestic and gender-based violence. With matters at a boiling point, one must question AKA’s real motives with this in the context of his alleged abuse against Tembe.
With a catchy and melodic hook in true AKA fashion, the song also creates the ground for us to understand what the good times in their relationship might have looked like, from AKA’s perspective.
The song even shows the realities of their relationships, both the good and the bad.
Many relationships go through their own trials and challenges. Could the song be an effort from AKA to find peace and say goodbye to Tembe? One can never know the true intentions. Only time will tell; the truth always has a way of coming to light.