Three years since Anele Tembe’s death, her family still yearns for the truth

April 11 marks the third year since the death of budding chef Anele Tembe. Picture: Instagram

April 11 marks the third year since the death of budding chef Anele Tembe. Picture: Instagram

Published Apr 14, 2024


It has been three years since Mzansi woke up to the news of Anele Tembe’s tragic death after she fell from the 10th floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Cape Town.

Did she jump or was she pushed?

The budding chef was in the company of her celebrity fiancé, the late multi-award-winning musician Kiernan ‘AKA’ Forbes, who was subsequently assassinated in another tragic death, in February last year on Durban’s popular Florida Road.

It’s been three long years since Anele’s death, but to her family and friends, it still feels like yesterday as they are still healing and searching for answers.

“Her siblings are still extremely heartsore about losing Anele in such a brutal way,” Manqoba Zungu, family spokesperson and brother-in-law to Anele told IOL Entertainment this week.

Anele’s lively character and her ability to light up the room, is something her siblings miss dearly about her.

“They miss her baking skills as well as her dancing skills - she loved dancing.”

Anele’s dancing skills are something the public became privy to through a viral video of her and AKA in the kitchen, cooking and dancing.

The adorable video of the couple which was posted on AKA’s TikTok account has over 800,000 views.



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“They also miss her advice on clothing and skin care. Anele was always the first to know about the latest clothing and beauty trends then she would share those with her siblings,” said Zungu, giving insight into her character.

He said the Tembe family keeps Anele’s spirit alive by talking about her as they continue on their healing journey, and laughing about some of the things she used to do.

“We also make sure that we always celebrate her birthday and commemorate her date of passing,” added Zungu.

But as the Tembe family still wrestles with coming to terms without Nelly, as she was known to close friends and loved ones, mystery still surrounds the exact circumstances of her death.

Anele’s father, Moses Tembe, said at her funeral, that his daughter was not suicidal nor did she take her own life.

AKA at the funeral of Anele Tembe at the Durban ICC in April 2021. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/Independent Newspapers

In May 2021, AKA had a tell-all interview with broadcaster Thembekile Mrototo at his Joburg home where he opened up about his “tumultuous“ relationship with Anele and the events leading up to her tragic death.

He denied pushing his fiancé off the balcony.

“I left the room but went back because I had taken her phone and we argued and then Anele had kind of threatened to kill herself, to jump off the balcony,” said AKA at the time.

He said that while he called the hotel reception for security and while the events were blurry, he remembered walking out of the bathroom and not seeing Anele anywhere in the room.

According to AKA, he walked to the balcony and saw Anele’s body lying on the street below.

AKA’s dad, Tony Forbes, told the podcast ‘Within With Hazel’, that he did not believe his son pushed Anele off the balcony.

"AKA and Anele's relationship shouldn't have happened," he told the podcast at the time.

"They were at different stages of their lives," he explained, also admitting there was an aggressive side to AKA, but that he also had a heart of gold.

Cape Town Central police are investigating an inquest case after an incident at a hotel at about 07:45am on the corners of Loop and Bloem Street, Cape Town CBD where the body of a 22-year-old woman was found dead after falling from the 10th floor .The woman was Anele Tembe. Picture: Phando Jikelo/Independent Newspapers

The SA Police Services opened an inquest docket to investigate the exact circumstances of the 22-year-old’s death - an investigation which has still not been concluded three years later.

IOL Entertainment has approached the Western Cape SAPS to get an update about the progress of the inquest. They did not respond.

Forbes Sr said he believed the inquest would reveal all.

No prosecution

Just days after AKA was gunned down in February last year, the National Prosecuting Authority released a statement saying it would not prosecute anyone for Anele’s death.

Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Nicolette Bell, said her decision was based on extensive investigations which were conducted by the SAPS and prosecutors, who produced expert opinions and forensic reports.

The NPA later registered an inquest into Anele’s death to determine whether she fell, was pushed or killed herself, after the Tembe family pushed for prosecution as they believed there was overwhelming evidence to prosecute.

City Press reported that the Tembe family, through their lawyers, sent a letter to the NPA after the decision not to prosecute was made.

The letter reportedly claimed that AKA pushed Anele off the balcony.

AKA was murdered along with his friend chef and businessman Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane when they were gunned down in cold blood on Florida Road, on February 10, 2023. Seven suspects have been charged with their murders.

Anele's father has denied claims levelled on social media that he had a hand in the rapper's murder.

Moses, at the time, said the rapper’s murder had robbed his family of gaining closure and finding out what happened on the night his daughter died.

AKA and his late fiancee Anele “Nelli” Tembe. Picture: Instagram

"Kiernan’s murder has robbed me and my family of the opportunity to get to the bottom of what happened at the Pepperclub Hotel on the fateful night that Anele died – something that I and my family have been fighting for over the last 22 months," Tembe said.

Several months have passed since the announcement of the inquest but there has been slow progress.

Tembe Family wants answers

“The family is bitterly disappointed and somewhat frustrated by how slow the progress has been relating to the inquest,” said Zungu.

The Tembe family has been in constant contact with the state around the inquest and there have been two postponements already.

Police did not comment.

In January 2024, Anele’s family and former high school, the Durban Girls' College, opened a library in her honour.

Durban Girls College Chair of Board Governor Karen Jones, Anele's father and Businessman Moses Tembe, Designer of the library Andrea Kleinloog, Durban Girls College Executive Head Heidi Rea and Saul Berman during the official opening event of Anele Tembe Library at the Durban Girls College, which was the school Anele attended- Picture:Tumi Pakkies/ Independent Newspapers

The Tembe family donated to the renewal of the library in memory of their daughter and was designed by another former DGC alumna, Andrea Kleinloog.

“The library has been extremely well received by the Durban Girls College (DGC) learners as well as by the DGC Alumni community. It has been a special way to keep Anele's legacy alive,” said Zungu.

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