As the wave of xenophobic attacks continues in South Africa, people from other countries on the continent have taken up virtual arms against South Africans in retaliation.
One such case is the Twitter exchange that resulted in a twar between former collaborators AKA (Kiernan Forbes) and Nigerian artist Burnaboy (Damini Ogulu).
Their exchange was sparked by an observation made by another Nigerian rapper, YCee.
According to YCee, AKA’s old football tweets when SA lost to Nigeria in the Afcon quarter-finals earlier reflect how South Africans felt towards Nigerians.
YCee believes all South African men harbour a veiled dislike for Nigerian men and it eventually rears its ugly head.
AKA responded with a picture of himself in Nigeria donning the country’s flag and YCee rebutted with a screenshot of AKA’s tweets.
A few hours after the exchange, Burnaboy logged on to Twitter and went on a rant about the matter. A rant that ended in him declaring AKA persona non grata in Nigeria and particularly on the Nigerian music scene.
A statement issued by AKA through representatives described him as “an avid sports fan” and “a passionate football fan, who gets involved in social media engagements in expressing his disappointment and happiness in relation to his team’s performance”.
“A month ago, after South Africa’s Bafana Bafana bruising exit from the AFCON 2019 tournament, losing their quarter-final match to the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Kiernan tweeted what any normal football fan would say in relation to the loss. Everyone who knows the history of these two teams since South Africa’s re-admittance into international sport back in 1992, SA and Nigeria have always had a rivalry, and have enjoyed a friendly banter,” read part of the statement.
These tweets were revived after AKA tweeted his disappointment at the recent wave of xenophobic attacks and expressed his fears of raising his four-year-old daughter, Kairo, in such an unsafe and volatile environment.
As he usually does, the rapper responded to the social media user who first revived these tweets in his typical sarcastic tone, and he believes that that led to his sentiments being taken out of context.
He claims that this led to attacks and threats against him, Kiernan, as well as his mother, daughter, brother, and girlfriend.
“I am unsure how innocent tweets over football have been taken so greatly out of context. I am saddened by the notion that I, Kiernan Jarred Forbes, dislike or hate Nigeria/Nigerians – I do not. These words never came from me. I am disheartened that anyone would believe I have negative feelings towards Nigeria and her citizens, as nothing could be further from the truth. At NO point do I say anything negative about Nigeria. If anything I’m saying the opposite – Nigeria is good at so many things, they’re winning!” said AKA in a statement.
“My frustration was in South Africa losing the football match. Thinking ‘now we lose a rivalry football match as well, it’s just too much.’ It was a laughable moment with reference to the spirit of rivalry. Family rivalry – as we are all of the same,
the same continent. We are all Africans,” he added.
AKA’s music agency, Vth Season (led by Raphael Benza), as well as his management and representatives, have noted Burnaboy’s rant and are reportedly in engagement with his team, both in the US and Nigeria.