Anele Tembe's father says he does not believe daughter died by suicide

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The family of Nelli Tembe are struggling to come to terms with her passing.
The family of Nelli Tembe are struggling to come to terms with her passing.
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  • A funeral service for Anele 'Nelli' Tembe took place on Friday at the Durban International Conference Centre.  
  • Moses remembered his daughter as "feisty" and "strong-willed", saying she gave her "absolute best to those around her".  
  • "As Anele's father, I hereby state categorically, Anele was neither suicidal nor did she commit suicide," he said in response to rumours that Anele died by suicide. 

A funeral service for Anele 'Nelli' Thembe took place on Friday at the Durban International Conference Centre.  

Anele, who was engaged to rapper AKA (real name Kiernan Forbes) died on Sunday. The 22-year-old fell to her death from the 10th floor of the Pepperclub Hotel in Loop street in Cape Town. 

Sandile Zungu read a letter from Anele's father, Moses, during the farewell service, which he said was "reflections of a heartbroken father and the farewell to a beloved daughter". 

"I love all my children; they make my life complete. Anele made me happy as a father. Very happy," Moses expressed in the heartfelt letter. 

Moses remembered his daughter as "feisty" and "strong-willed", saying she gave her "absolute best to those around her".  He said that his deepest desire was for her to "live to be who she wanted to be".

ALSO READ | AKA 'doing well as can be expected under the circumstances', seeks grief counselling

"Her wish was to fall in love and get married to a man that would be the father of her children," he said.

"She fell in love with Kiernan, and lobola negotiations were had between the Tembes and Forbes' just a few weeks ago," he said about his daughter's upcoming marriage to the South African rapper. 

"I have always been happy with my daughter, and even when she introduced us to Kiernan, I was very happy for her. I approved of their choices, and I made a very explicit suggestion as a condition to my approval that Anele and Kiernan needed to subject themselves to proper pre-marital counselling. 

"I knew Kiernan loved my daughter, but I knew that their enduring companionship needed more than just love. It had to be promised and embedded in a Godly foundation," he said. 

According to Moses, the couple were due to attend counselling on the weekend of the "misfortune". "I was determined to assist both of them in conquering their challenges, some of which I knew," he said. 

"Anele's dream has been shattered, and so has mine," he said.  

About the speculation surrounding the circumstances of  his daughter's death, Moses said: "I cannot let an unfortunate narrative go unchallenged. 

"...that Anele, my daughter was a chronically suicidal person or had suicidal tendencies. All I can say is that until she turned 21, Anele wouldn't consider taking her own life as a solution. Not a single member of my family, Anele's family, would have ever associated Anele with suicide.

"Anele loved herself so much. She wanted to live more rather than less." 

"As Anele's father, I hereby state categorically, Anele was neither suicidal nor did she commit suicide," he said in response to rumours that Anele died by suicide. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, we need to understand the forces that put us in a situation that we find ourselves. Of course, we must as a matter of extreme priority, deal with the scourge that bedevils our youth. 

"Alcohol which is overused, and drugs, especially if we envision our youth contributing meaningfully to our nation-building and economic development efforts.

"Fellow South Africans, we had better wake up and smell the coffee. We have a serious problem with substance abuse and add to that other social ills, and we are in a crisis," he said. 

Moses concluded by addressing Kiernan, saying: "Kiernan, I think I know what you are going through. I know the pain that you are feeling. In the face of extreme emotional pain, bigger women and men resort to all sorts of remedies or what they consider to be remedies. My son, I invite you to turn to the Lord. And in so doing, you will be assured of becoming a much better man."  

Kiernan did not speak during the funeral service on Friday. 

Speaking to Channel24 on Wednesday, the rapper's publicist Pumza Nohashe said that he was "doing [as] well as can be expected under the circumstances." 

"He lost the love of his life, someone he had taken advanced steps, culturally to spend the rest of his life with.

"He is still trying to make sense of it all and is leaning on his mother Lynne and father Tony, who have been by his side. The love and support of Anele's family and a grief counsellor have been of some relief to him," she said. 

ALSO READ| 'Words fail me,' says actor Nondumiso Tembe following her 'baby' Anele 'Nelli' Tembe's death


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