Mos Def avoids SA trial over passport
AMERICAN rapper Mos Def has left South Africa and not return. Def left after an out-of-court agreement terms of which he avoided facing charges in a South African court for using a so-called “world passport” .
The 42-year-old hip hop artist and actor, whose birth name was Dante Smith but who has used the name Yasiin Bey for the last five years, was arrested in Cape Town in January after trying to leave South Africa on his unofficial passport.
Ending months of court hearings and postponements, the government announced that charges against him would be dropped after he apologised and agreed to fly out of the country. “This is clearly a vindication of the position we had taken on this matter, including the fact that we do not recognise the world passport,” the SA Home Affairs department said in a statement.
“Mr Smith Bey has applied for and will be travelling out of the republic on a US passport.”
It added he would be declared an “undesirable person”.
Mos Def was arrested at Cape Town airport while attempting to board a flight to Ethiopia. He was freed on bail of $350.
He had entered South Africa with a legitimate US passport last year, but tried to leave using a “World Government of World Citizens” passport.
The World Government of World Citizens was established in 1953 by the late peace activist Garry Davis, an American who renounced his citizenship after World War 2.
“I haven’t broken any law. And I’m being treated like a criminal,” he said in a message released via superstar rapper Kanye West’s Twitter feed at the time of his arrest.
In his acclaimed hip-hop career Mos Def has produced classic solo songs as well as albums with Talib Kweli in the duo Black Star.
Both WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and intelligence leaker Edward Snowden are reported to be holders of world passports, which are not officially recognised. – AFP