Nadia Nakai opens up almost a year after the death of her lover AKA (2024)

Nadia Nakai is opening up about the gut-wrenching sadness and unbelievable grief she went through almost a year after the sudden death of her rapper boyfriend Kiernan "AKA" Forbes.

Real name Nadia Nakai Kandava, in the moving tribute with Sowetan, she has described the last year as the toughest of her life. Among the people she leaned on during this dark period has been late rapper Riky Rick's widow Bianca Naidoo.

Supa Mega, as affectionately referred to by fans, was gunned down two hours before midnight in a fatal shooting at Florida Road in Durban on February 10 last year. He was 35 years old.

“Kiernan was the first close person I’ve ever lost… his funeral was the first I’ve ever been to. So, this grieving process is quite new to me,” she said.

“The person I found comfort in and had conversations with was Bianca Naidoo. She has been quite instrumental in helping me deal with this pain because she knows how it feels to lose someone you loved who was a superstar [Riky Rick died a year before AKA]. Much like me, she had to deal with seeing and hearing Riky Rick everywhere. Confiding in her helped me quite a lot.”

While dealing with her grief in the public eye has been challenging, Nakai added that seeing the overwhelming support and love from fans has been instrumental in her healing journey.

But perhaps the loneliest day was this past Christmas.

“I steal happy moments here and there which I’m truly grateful for," she said.

"Life has been tough the past couple of months, especially this past Christmas because I spent it alone ... the one before was beautiful, we had a blended family. New Year’s was also difficult because the one before I was with Kiernan on the road… I mean, there are so many memories. But December to March is the hardest period of my life at the moment.”

Pouring her pain into her music has also been part of her healing journey. A month after his death, she hit the studio and started penning down anguish – something she learnt from AKA. That's how the AKA tribute song, Never Leave, which drop this Friday, was born. The release coincide with what would have been AKA's 36th birthday on Sunday.

“I chose to work with Kash CPT who is a new artist in the scene. He is immensely talented and he’s also from Cape Town where Kiernan was from ... I knew he’d be fitting to work with,” she said.

“In the song, you can hear that I’m pleading that AKA never leaves. I wish he never had to leave Joburg to go to Durban… I wish he didn’t have to pass away and leave all of us.The things I’m saying in the song are things I’ve been saying in my prayers and spiritual conversations that I have with him."

Nakai will also be releasing two music projects, one of which will be a personal tribute to her “forever love”.

“At first when I went to the studio, I didn’t have any intentions of releasing a project but I was trying to find some sort of therapy or way to heal, similar to how he used to do when he was alive ... he’d cover himself with music, and I thought I should do the same,” she said.

“I wanted to release the song on a sentimental day, either on our anniversary or his birthday, I was certain I didn’t want to do it on his death date because I believe it's not a day to be celebrated.”

Nakai also expressed her gratitude towards AKA's mother Lynn and DJ Zinhle – the mother of AKA's daughter Kairo.

“One can’t compare the pain of losing a boyfriend to a son but somehow Lynn was able to do that. She put her pain aside to deal with mine. I love how she and Tony [AKA's father] have a big heart and we’ve grown closer since Kiernan’s passing. This support made me feel like God’s favourite," she said.

“The support I got from Zinhle and Kairo as well has been incredible. I love how the family allowed me to maintain the relationship I had with Kairo... the one I had when his dad was still alive. It has allowed me to experience Kiernan as if he was still here.

“Kiernan had a tough exterior, which made him unapproachable to many. I like how he only reserved the softness for me. How he wanted to be treated like a baby and be cuddled, for me that was a privilege that I will forever cherish.”

Nadia Nakai opens up almost a year after the death of her lover AKA (2024)
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