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The International Committee of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), has implored governments of African countries to arrest the growing cases of violent deaths against music stars on the continent just as it urged the South African authorities to expedite the process of prosecution of the killers of rapper Kiernan Forbes popularly known as AKA.
AFRIMA recalls that the 35-year-old AKA was killed in a cold-blooded shooting on February 10, 2023, at a nightclub in Durban, South Africa and the awards body is demanding that everyone linked to his gruesome murder be expeditiously brought to justice.
President and Executive Producer, AFRIMA, Mike Dada, in a statement, said governments of African nations must make deliberate efforts to prevent violent attacks against music talents, averring that the disturbing trend could potentially erode the gains recorded in the creative industry over the years if not checked.
Dada said the murder of AKA is a wake-up call to governments across the continent to scale up their security architecture to encourage the protection of talented individuals. He suggested that efforts should be sustained to checkmate the proliferation of small arms especially.
AFRIMA said the senseless killing of AKA utterly hurts African creative space, insisting that South African authorities must arrest and prosecute everyone involved in the dastardly act.
"We strongly demand from the government of South Africa to arrest and prosecute all the persons involved in the killing of AKA to serve as a deterrent to criminally-minded individuals who cut short the lives of talents at their prime. The crime deterrent is for criminals to know that there is a big chance for them to be arrested, prosecuted and convicted; we strongly call for justice to be sufficiently served in this case.
"However, this is also a call to the governments of various countries across the continent of Africa to react to this gruesome killing by addressing the challenge of the proliferation of small arms. The trend of arms proliferation in Africa has had an impact on the continent's internal security, which has led to violence and the deaths and injury of thousands of innocent citizens including our music stars and we encourage steps that will lead to the protection of the lives of our talented stars.
"Our ideals include using the platform of AFRIMA to promote the strength of Africa and tell a positive story of the continent and we believe we can tackle poverty, inequality, unemployment, climate change and other challenges bedeviling our dear continent through music but the lives of creative talents should be protected to fully realise these lofty dreams," he said.
Similarly, speaking on AKA's killing, AFRIMA's Country Director, South Africa, Lekunutu Seboko, said the government of the country must back up its promises and assurances with concrete action by solving the murder case in good time. He believes bringing the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book will deepen the trust and belief in a better future for not only the music stars in the country but all South Africans, where they can feel safe and secure in their homes and communities.
"AKA's sudden death is a deeply disturbing tragedy and development in South African music; the ghastly manner of his death has had international reverberations and our government must endeavour to bring his assailants to book to prove to the world that we indeed operate a system that uplifts justice and sanity.
"Undoubtedly, the African music landscape is diminished by his untimely death; but it is now the responsibility of South African authorities to ensure that justice prevails. We understand that some arrests have been made, but the process of bringing everyone connected to his death to book must be swift because justice delayed is justice denied," he said.
AFRIMA also reacted to the sudden death of another South African rapper Costa Titch who died in March while performing on stage.
Dada said the invaluable contributions of Costa Stitch, whose real name was Constantinos Tsobanoglou, and AKA to Africa's creative and music ecosystem would be sorely missed.
He added that African music was yet to come to terms with the sudden demise of the two great artists, describing them as true musical giants whose incredible songs and voices touched countless lives.
He added that AKA set the bar high for South African hip-hop just as Costa Titch took it up a notch and the two superstars collectively and collaboratively projected African music and culture on the world stage with many songs they did together.
He added that the two music icons were prominent figures in the AFRIMA community, recalling that AKA was a winner while Costa Titch won multiple nominations.
Dada said: "The deaths of AKA and Costa Titch will continue to cause significant reverberations across the African music fraternity because their contributions to the art were simply magical. Their music, messages, and successes gave hope to young Africans mired in poverty, violence, and uncertainty. Their works did not only elevate the hip-hop genre to the mainstream of South African music but impacted the global music audience in a manner that deepened the acceptance of African music and culture on a large scale.
"Their losses are personal to us in AFRIMA because they have been part of our journey. We recall that AKA won the Best African Collaboration award in the 2015 edition of AFRIMA for his effort on ‘All Eyes on Me’ which features Burna Boy, Da LES and others, while Costa Titch got a historic six nominations in the recently held 2022 edition. The greatness of their crafts is still being acknowledged even in their graves.
"We are still sombre and sad about their sudden departures. They inspired the whole of our continent; full of faith, courage, and strength, they have left a huge void in the music industry and their invaluable contributions to the African music ecosystem would be missed forever."
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