SA celebs that grabbed the headlines in 2023

Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, better known by his stage name AKA, is a South African hip hop recording artist originally from Cape Town. AKA visited the SAE Institute Cape Town in Woodstock to talk to the students there. Reporter: Robin Henney Picture: David Ritchie

Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, better known by his stage name AKA, is a South African hip hop recording artist originally from Cape Town. AKA visited the SAE Institute Cape Town in Woodstock to talk to the students there. Reporter: Robin Henney Picture: David Ritchie

Published Dec 30, 2023


As the year winds down, here's a look at celebrities who made headlines in South Africa in 2023.

SA musician Tyla Seethal

TYLA Seethal takes the world by storm:

Tyla’s rise to stardom has been something to marvel at, particularly for millions of her fans who continue to support her.

The past few months have been centred on significant milestones for the star, including going on acclaimed shows in the US and gracing major international stages.

The 21-year-old, born Tyla Seethal hailing from Johannesburg, introduced herself with her much-followed song “Getting Late” and has become a force to be reckoned with.

It wasn’t long after the release of her latest hit song, “Water” that she got a nod at the Grammy Awards.

This major recognition happened after the opening for the internationally acclaimed American star Chris Brown for his London tour.

It was recently revealed that “Water” broke the record for the highest-charting Solo Song by An African female artist on the Billboard Hot 100 & in 56 years.

The star was nominated alongside local artist, Musa Keys for an acclaimed Grammy Award.

Among many highlights this year, Tyla was also named the Spotify Radar programme EQUAL Africa ambassador.

Kiernan Jarryd Forbes, better known by his stage name AKA, is a South African hip hop recording artist originally from Cape Town. AKA visited the SAE Institute Cape Town in Woodstock to talk to the students there. Reporter: Robin Henney Picture: David Ritchie

Musician AKA gunned down:

Musician Kiernan Forbes, popularly known as AKA was shot dead in the coastal city of Durban, along with a friend in February this year.

Forbes was killed with his close friend, chef and entrepreneur Tebello ‘Tibz’ Motsoane as they were walking towards their car from a restaurant.

The 35-year-old began his musical career as part of the rap group Entity before launching his solo career.

Forbes won multiple South African awards, was nominated several times for a Black Entertainment Television (BET) Award in the United States, and was once nominated for an MTV Europe Music Award.

He was booked to perform at a club on the night he was gunned down. The motive for his killing still remains unclear and his perpetrators still remain at large.

Costa Titch. Picture: Instagram

Costa Titch dies:

South African rapper Costa Titch died after he appeared to collapse onstage during a performance at a music festival in March this year.

The rapper, whose real name is Constantinos Tsobanoglou, was 28.

Tsobanoglou performed at Ultra South Africa in Johannesburg. Video of his set circulated on social media, showing him appearing to fall onstage. He was picked up by a person next to him, but after several seconds, he appeared to fall again and collapsed off the stage.

Angie Oeh

Angie Oeh loses battle with cancer:

Afrikaans mumble rapper Angie Oeh, 24, died six days after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

The rapper, diagnosed with stage four lung cancer on August 14, died on August 20 in a hospital in Pretoria.

Greeff’s friend and manager Wynand Myburgh confirmed the news of the 24-year-old’s death.

“Those who met or worked with her will know how wonderful and special she was. We are not only losing a South African gem but also a very special friend and partner,” he said

Taking to her Instagram, she shared news of her diagnosis: “I am scared. I am f_king scared. Every time I have a little time to think about it, I cry”. A BackaBuddy campaign was created to help cover some of her medical expenses and has accumulated over R278 000.

Mark Pilgrim

Mark Pilgrim loses battle with cancer:

Veteran radio and TV presenter Mark Pilgrim died after battling stage four lung cancer. He was 53.

Pilgrim was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in March 2022, which he revealed in June had spread to his femur, the base of his spine and lymph nodes.

Following his diagnosis, the radio presenter launched a YouTube video series chronicling his recovery journey.

zahara at the Cape Town Jazz Fest

Zahara death:

Award-winning South African Afro-pop singer Bulelwa Mkutukana, popularly known as Zahara, died, after being in hospital, reportedly with liver complications.

The songstress won fame in 2011 with her album Loliwe, loved across Africa.

In 2019, Zahara opened up about her battle with alcohol addiction.

Last month, the family confirmed the musician had been admitted to hospital and called on South Africans to keep her in their prayers.

She passed away at a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 36.

In a statement posted on Zahara’s Instagram account, her family said: "She was a pure light, and an even purer heart, in this world. A beacon of hope, a gift, and a blessing to us and countless people around the world."

Zahara, who released five albums, won dozens of awards both local and international. In 2020, she was named in the BBC's 100 Women list.

Molemo 'Jub Jub' Maarohanye and Themba Tshabalala both appeared on the final day of hearing at the Protea Magistrates court in Soweto in conection with the drag racing incident two years ago which cost the lives of four school children and severly injuring two. Picture: Antoine de Ras

Jub Jub hands himself over:

Earlier this year, South Africa woke up to the news that rapper and TV personality Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye handed himself over to police.

The Uyajola99 host faces charges of rape, attempted murder and assault. He was granted R10 000 bail.

According to reports he handed himself over to the Brixton Police Station after a warrant of arrest was issued out.

The National Prosecuting Authority said Maarohanye’s bail conditions included not leaving the country without applying with the court and he was also requested to hand over his travel documents to the investigating officer. He is also not allowed to make contact with any witnesses.

Mbongeni Ngema

Mbongeni Ngema dies:

Mbongeni Ngema, writer of the acclaimed musical “Sarafina” about student riots in apartheid Soweto, was tragically killed in a car crash on Wednesday, 27 December, his family announced.

Ngema died just as the 1992 movie, developed with legendary jazz musician Hugh Masekela, was making a return with a screening at this year’s Cannes film festival classic section and a streaming release.

Xolani Khumalo. Picture: Supplied

Xolani Khumalo:

Popular drug buster and TV broadcaster Xolani Khumalo left many of his followers in shock after news that he turned himself in to the police in connection with a fatal incident that happened at one of the most recent controversial drug raids.

The Sizokuthola host found himself and his team at the centre of controversy in July following a man's death while under questioning.

Robert “Kicks” Varrie was named as the deceased in a statement released by the television channel Moja Love.

On the latest developments, Molemo is expected to appear in court on February 5, 2024, on allegations of assault, attempted murder and rape in a case involving four complainants that spans 2006 to 2010.

Cyan Boujee. Picture: Instagram/@cyan.boujee24

Cyan Boujee sex tape:

Following the leak of her intimate video on the internet, social media personality Cyan Boujee accused award-winning artist Prince Kaybee of being responsible for the leaking of the explicit content.

In August, a screenshot circulating on Twitter showed a post on Boujee's Instagram Stories, suggesting that she placed the blame for the leak squarely on Kaybee's shoulders.

Lebo M in his premises in Melrose arch.

Lebo M divorce:

In August, Lebo Morake, also known as Lebo M and the producer of “The Lion King”, announced his decision to get a divorce from his wife, Pretty Samuels-Morake.

While Lebo M’s career has earned him recognition across the world, so has his love life, which has seen him say ‘I do’ numerous times.

He was married to Viveca Gipson for five years. He divorced Gipson and married Nandi Ndlovu. They were married for 11 years.

He then divorced Ndlovu and married Ngani-Casara. Their marriage lasted five years, from 2008 to 2013.

In 2014, the Hollywood composer started dating former ‘Generations’ actress Zoe Mthiyane.

After their daughter Lulo was born in 2015, the pair got engaged, but the relationship went sour and they ended things in 2016.

He then remarried his third wife, Ngani-Casara, but they divorced again in 2017 and they briefly rekindled the romance, playing out on his reality TV show: Lebo M: Coming Home.

Lebo M’s latest failed marriage saw him trend on social media with many weighing in on his divorce.

Saturday Star

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