January 15, 2016


Mos Def Arrested in South Africa for Trying to Use "World Passport" [Update]

Mark Horton/WireImage
Mark Horton/WireImage

Update (1/15, 1:45PM): A rep for Yasiin Bey/Mos Def tells Okay Africa about the "world passport" situation:

"It’s issued by the World Service—in support of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. His understanding is that the South African government has previously accepted the World Passport to enter the country and to provide visas as recently as August."

The interview reveals that Mos was detained for at least two nights and that his plan had been to perform at Ethiopia's Selam Music Festival.

Original story (1/15, 12PM): Yasiin Bey/Mos Def was arrested in Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday, Jan. 14 for attempting to leave without a valid passport. 

Oddly enough, the next step, per the Associated Press, is that he has two weeks...to leave the country. Evidently he handed officials "an unrecognized 'world passport'" when prompted. A man-of-mystery move all the way.

"A court order to leave the country means the rapper is banned from South Africa for five years," the AP writes, "but may appeal to officials for leniency." Mos was accompanied by members of his family who also lacked the right documentation.

Mos Def has reportedly been living in South Africa since 2013, although his visa expired in 2014. The last Mos Def solo album, The Ecstatic, came nearly seven years ago.