President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Refusal To Grant AKA A State Funeral Divides South Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to decline a request by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi to grant a state funeral for the late rapper AKA has divided South Africa.
On Friday, 10 February, AKA, real name Kiernan Forbes, died following a shooting incident in Durban and the South African Police Service (SAPS) now considers his case an assassination.
As AKA was leaving a restaurant in Durban to attend his birthday celebration, one of two suspected hired hitmen ran up to him and shot him in the head.
According to reports from News24, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi visited AKA’s family at their home in Johannesburg and informed them that their request for a state funeral had been denied by President Ramaphosa after he had made the request to the Presidency on their behalf.
Although the Presidency declined the request, Lesufi stated that the provincial government would still pay tribute to the late rapper by providing law enforcement personnel, a gravesite at the Heroes Acre Cemetery, and a flag for his casket. Lesufi said:
“We feel that a person of AKA’s stature must receive some form of honour, and we want to clarify that it is not a financial contribution. We will drape the coffin and provide a gravesite at Heroes Acre Cemetery, with flags flying at half-mast. We will ensure that his funeral is befitting.”
AKA was a staunch supporter of the African National Congress (ANC) and had performed at the party’s rallies. In honor of the late rapper, the ruling party held a candlelight ceremony outside his Johannesburg home on Wednesday.
“Wow, wasn’t he on FaceTime with him that other year before COVID? Kiernan’s family have already made and paid for funeral arrangements. It was just going to be the national flag on his coffin and a member of parliament to attend his funeral.”
“I remember @HulisaniRavele asked what criteria they use to decide who deserves a state funeral and who doesn’t. She was labeled as a tribalist and insulted on this app. Mampintsha got it. Prokid got it. HHP got it. Why not AKA?”
“No need for a state funeral. We gave Mega his flowers when he was alive 🕊.”
“Payback time for praising President Zuma and his achievements!!!!”
“Good, these ones throw money around for departed friends recklessly even when there is no need.”
“A good decision by the Presidency. Only people that can’t afford to bury their loved ones must be considered for a state funeral. As for artists, what criteria are they applying to qualify since we have so many of them? It’s all about discrimination.”