U.S. rapper Mos Def held in South Africa over ‘world’ passport

AFP-JIJI

American rapper Mos Def appeared in a South African court Friday after being arrested for allegedly using an illegal “world passport” as he tried to leave the country, officials said.

The 42-year-old hip-hop artist, actor and activist, whose real name is Dante Terrel Smith, was taken into custody overnight for contravening immigration laws.

The Department of Home Affairs says the actor, whose birth name is Dante Smith but now goes by Yasiin Bey, entered the country with a legitimate American passport, but outstayed his visitor’s permit.

He was granted bail of 5,000 South African rand (about $300) when he appeared at Bellville magistrates’ court, local media reported.

“Mr. Smith attempted to depart the country from the Cape Town International Airport by producing an unrecognised ‘World Passport,'” said a statement from the department of home affairs.

“Further investigation into the matter revealed that Mr. Smith’s wife, mother and four children had overstayed and were sojourning in the country illegally.”

His wife and children had been given two weeks to leave the country, the statement said.

It added that Mos Def had entered the country on a tourist visa using a U.S. passport.

He is believed to have been living in Cape Town for several years.

In 2014 Mos Def canceled a planned tour of the United States due to what his publicists called “legal and immigration issues.”

In his acclaimed hip-hop career he produced classic solo albums and LPs with Talib Kweli as Black Star.