Yasiin Bey Is Finally Being Allowed to Leave South Africa...Under One Condition

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 28:  Mos Def Performs onstage during a Black Star set on day 1 of Wireless Festival 2015 at Finsbury Park on June 28, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)

Yasiin Bey Is Finally Being Allowed to Leave South Africa...Under One Condition

This was all it took.

Published November 22, 2016

Brooklyn hip-hop vet and social activist Mos Def, also known as Yasiin Bey, experienced a trying year very early in 2016 when he was arrested in Cape Town for breaching the South African city’s immigration laws. After being held for nearly a year, Cape Town officials are now allowing him to come home. 

In January 2016, Yasiin Bey attempted to leave South Africa’s popular coastal city with a “world passport.” Cape Town International Airport immigration officials did not recognize the passport and deemed it inadmissible for travel. Afterward, the “New World Water” rapper was taken into custody.

The home affairs department revealed in a letter that the rapper apologized for his act of infringement on the city’s strict law. For such genuine remorse, the charges brought upon him have officially been dropped.

"[He] has unreservedly apologized to the Government of South Africa," the letter details. “The department is satisfied with the apology [and] will withdraw the charges against him."

The passport in question is a World Service Authority-issued document, which “represents the inalienable human right of freedom of travel on planet Earth,” as reported by News24. Though Bey was able to prove that South Africa had accepted this form of passport in the past, home affairs officials held that the only recognized documents valid are from the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the African Development Bank.

Though Def has finally been granted his freedom, Reuters reports that he will not be allowed back into South Africa and will be considered an “undesirable person” despite having lived there since 2013. Either way, the incident has now been cleared and Def is free to travel back to the United States.

Welcome home.

Written by Diamond Alexis

(Photo: Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)


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