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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘Dignity in short supply in SA’ – Political parties warned about commenting on AKA’s death

Following AKA’s murder, his family appealed for compassion and time to congregate as family to grieve his death

The Director of Research at the Auwal Socio-economic Research Institute (ASRI) said organisations and political parties should tread carefully when commenting on the death of an individual.

This comes after a number of political parties, including the ANC, DA and EFF, conveyed condolences to the family and commented on the murder of award-winning rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes.

AKA and his friend Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane were shot dead in an apparent hit while standing outside the Wish restaurant in Durban on Friday night.

Right to privacy

Following AKA’s murder, his family said: “In this time of grief, we appeal to your compassion, for space and time to congregate as family to decide on the upcoming days”.

Speaking to The Citizen, Asri’s Angelo Fick said the family of a deceased person has a right to privacy and political parties need to keep this in mind.

“The matter of somebody’s death is a private matter unless it involves state actors as it did in Marikana, [or] at Life Esidimeni, and I suspect political parties may be very careful about what they want to get involved in publicly,” said Fick.

“Those organisations that have commented may be interested in signalling to people that they think should support them, that they are interested as an organisation in seeing the people that they want voting for them, and that can work to a certain extent, but it can also backfire spectacularly.”

ALSO READ: Mbaks campaigning on AKA’s family’s doorstep shows he has no shame

Dignity in short supply

Fick said South Africa is a country in which “dignity is in short supply”.

“This is always the case in countries with great inequality and so many believe that if you become famous, you should be beyond the reaches of the problems of an unequal society.

“For many people, this death is symbolic of many other deaths that weren’t reported on and don’t involve famous people or celebrities and, therefore, some of their public commentary, professions of unhappiness with the system may hook onto the death, as with Mr Forbes.

Non-famous deaths not making headlines

“But actually, that’s just a symbol for how they feel about other deaths of their own relatives, friends, people in their neighbourhood that were also killed but did not make the headlines,” Fick added.

Fick said organisations who have not commented on the death of AKA may also be “drawing two short straws”.

“If they don’t comment, they are seen as not caring and if they do comment, they are seen as jumping on the bandwagon. So, it’s very difficult for organisations in an era of social media outrage and information of tempers to gauge where, when and what exactly to comment on,” Fick said.

ALSO READ: AKA’s death ‘robbed us of opportunity to vindicate our daughter’ – Moses Tembe

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