News January 20, 2016 at 10:52 am

Mos Def, Family Detained in South Africa for Allegedly Presenting Unrecognized Travel Documents

Abena Agyeman-Fisher | Editor-in-chief, F2FA

Abena Agyeman-Fisher January 20, 2016 at 10:52 am

January 20, 2016 at 10:52 am | News

Mos Def

After rapper and actor Yasiin Bey, a.k.a. Mos Def and né Dante Terrell Smith, was refused departure from South Africa for allegedly failing to adhere to the nation’s immigration laws, Bey says he will never return to the country.

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According to South African Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni, Bey and his wife and child were arrested for two offenses in Cape Town after they attempted to board a flight to Ethiopia.

The first offense involved Bey’s World Government of World Citizens passport, which is, according to Apleni, not recognized in South Africa.

“The major problem why he could not get on the Ethiopian flight was the document he produced at the immigration counter, the World Passport, which South Africa does not recognise.

“This must be clear, we have no reason, as a country, to refuse anybody entry or departure, as long as such travel is legal. Mr Smith himself has been a frequent visitor to South Africa since 2013. His first visit to South Africa was on 02 June 2013. He has entered South Africa ten times, and has always entered the country on a visitor’s visa (90 days exemption) using a US Passport, not a World Passport.”

The second alleged offense involves Bey’s wife and child; the pair’s visitor’s visas reportedlyMos Def expired in April 2014, which would mean that they have been living in South Africa illegally.

South African Home Affairs contends that Bey’s U.S. visitor’s passport, which he had used for the 10 trips previously taken in to South Africa, is set to expire on Feb. 28.

But Bey maintains that since he has been wrongfully detained in South Africa, he will never return to the country again.

In fact, Bey sent a telephone message to U.S. rapper Kanye West, where he says, “I am currently in Cape Town, South Africa, and I’m being prevented from leaving, unjustly, unlawfully and without any logical reason…

“They are making false claims against me, saying that my travel document was fictitious, which it is not…”

“My family and I are prepared to make whatever moves we need to make outside of this state to leave here and never return again.”

Ultimately, Bey concluded, “No more parties in SA…where I leave is where I stay.”

Listen to the message here:

Mos DefBey has spent the majority of his time in South Africa in recent years. In an interview he did in America last year, he expressed that he decided to leave the United States due to the “social, economic, and political” challenges he found there.

“As an artist and as a human being, working in the way that I work in the world today,” Bey said. “It’s really America’s a very challenging place for me. Sure, there’s great business opportunities, familiarity and all that. But given the current social, political, economic climate, it’s very difficult. Unnecessarily difficult. To create to the degree of fullness, the type of robust, type of creativity that I like to have, it’s very difficult for me to produce that here.”

Bey also shed light on how he sees the world, “Earth is a very big and open place. That doesn’t mean I don’t value my family or my audience here in America. It’s just that I needed to take some time to put myself in environments where I felt good.”

Bey will face immigration charges March 8.

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