The Biography Of Anele "Nellie" Tembe

Gone but not forgotten

By  | May 07, 2022, 07:00 AM  | Top of The

Anele "Nellie" Tembe, The Biography of Anele Tembe

In April 2021, news of Anele “Nellie” Tembe’s sudden and tragic death quickly spread throughout South Africa.

At the time of her death, the then 22-year-old Nellie Tembe was rapper AKA’s fiance, but that’s not all she was. She was also a daughter, a sister, and a friend to many who had big dreams and a great mind.

Here is a detailed biography of Anele “Nellie” Tembe who although gone, will never be forgotten.

Early life and family


Anele Tembe (2nd right) with her siblings, source: YOU


Anele “Nellie” Tembe was born on 11th October 1999 to an affluent family in Durban. Her father was a renowned business mogul Moses Tembe who is the chairman of Phumelela Gaming & Leisure Ltd, and her mother was the late Lulu Msumi Tembe who passed on in 2004 following an illness. 

There were some speculations that Anele Tembe’s mother committed suicide too which were circulated after Nellie’s death. Her older brother Vukile has since rubbished the rumours.

Anele Tembe had two full siblings, an older brother named Vukile and a sister named Nosifo Temba. 


After their mother’s untimely death, the three young children were raised by their father until he remarried. Anele Tembe’s stepmother was the daughter of the 8th King of the Zulu nation- Princess Ntandoyesizwe.

Her father’s second marriage bore two more children- Mbali and Zomatanga who were Nellie Tembe’s half-siblings. She was cousins with former Generations actress Nondumiso Tembe.

The late Nellie Tembe was a very private person and not much is known about her relationship with her family. However, it appears that she was particularly close to her father as her older brother disclosed that she had been a daddy’s girl.

Anele "Nellie" Tembe’s education


Anele Tembe, source: jackiecameron.co.za


Details about Anele Tembe’s early education have not been revealed although according to her family, Anele Tembe was a vibrant and focused student.

After 18 months of studies, Nellie Tembe graduated in 2019 from the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine.

Anele "Nellie" Tembe’s career


Nellie Tembe with her father, source: drum


After graduating, Anele Tembe who had a great passion for cooking opened her own kitchen at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom, in Durban.

In a past interview with her Jackie Cameroon School of Food & Wine, Anele Tembe revealed that she had dreams of becoming the first South African woman to open a  Michelin Star restaurant. 

As the saying goes, “cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams,” the young chef unfortunately never got to see her dream come to reality as her life ended a little too soon.

Nellie Tembe’s personal life and relationships


Anele Tembe with fiance AKA, source: Instagram


Until her untimely death, Anele Tembe was engaged to famous South African rapper Kiernan Forbes, popularly known as AKA

The two started dating shortly after AKA broke up with DJ Zinhle in 2020. Details of how they met have not been revealed yet.

On 21st February 2021, AKA announced on Instagram that he had gotten engaged to Anele Tembe. 

“21/02/21 – love of my life said Yesssss," his post read.

Anele Tembe’s relationship with AKA unfortunately never got to the stage of wedded bliss as a few months after their lobola negotiations, Anele Tembe passed on.

Anele Tembe’s death


Tembe and Forbes family statement


On 11 April 2021, Anele Tembe’s life was cut short after she allegedly jumped out of a window of the tenth floor of Cape Town Pepperclub Hotel where she was staying with her fiance, AKA.

In an interview with Thando Thabethe, AKA explained that he had been in a heated debate with Nellie on the day that she died and that at some point in the argument, she threatened to kill herself. AKA left the room to let her cool off but when he returned, it was too late.

Even though police cleared AKA’s name and ruled Anele Tembe’s death as a possible suicide, not everybody accepted the police report. Some people pointed fingers at AKA and accused him of pushing her out of the window while her father ruled out suicide, claiming that her daughter had never been suicidal.

Anele Tembe was laid to rest on the 16th of April 2021 at the Lala Kahle Cemetery, following a funeral service that was held at Durban International Convention Centre.



Read more