No par­ties in SA – Bey

CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­

“No more par­ties in SA, please / No more par­ties in SA.” That was the open­ing line of a for­lorn farewell track posted this week by US rap­per and ac­tor Yasiin Bey, for­merly known as Mos Def, on the web­site of his good friend Kanye West.

But City Press es­tab­lished this week that Bey did not do much par­ty­ing in South Africa at all.

Those who knew him in Cape Town say he led a quiet and “mel­low” life, mainly spent tuck­ing into or­ganic food and home­school­ing his chil­dren.

Bey’s favourite Cape Town eatery is a ve­gan restau­rant called Plant, which stocks un­usual del­i­ca­cies such as “mushroom bil­tong”.

In­side the restau­rant, with its herb-cov­ered walls and world muzak, staff said his pre­ferred meal was spicy mushroom rolls (R68) – de­scribed on the menu as “del­i­cate rice pa­per rolls filled with buck­wheat noo­dles, spicy ex­otic mush­rooms, avo, ginger and cashews” – and “red juice” (R38) made of ap­ples, beetroot and ginger, served in a tall glass bot­tle.

Be­fore he was kicked out of South Africa, Bey was also kicked out of the five-star Pep­per­club Ho­tel in cen­tral Cape Town for not pay­ing his bills.

Gareth Ber­rill, a spokesper­son for Solomon Brothers Prop­erty Hold­ings, which owns the ho­tel, con­firmed that Bey, his wife, Maieve, his mother, Sheron, and four chil­dren stayed there for a year.

“He was asked to leave as he owed the ho­tel a sum of money, which was later paid,” said Ber­rill.

The fam­ily never ate at the ho­tel be­cause not all the food there is ha­laal. “They were very healthy and or­ganic. His wife was al­ways drink­ing take­away juices and smooth­ies from the ve­gan restau­rant down the road,” said a source at the ho­tel.

An em­ployee de­scribed Bey as “mel­low”, adding he did not wel­come fans ap­proach­ing him for pho­to­graphs in the ho­tel’s foyer.

Ap­par­ently, his chil­dren were be­ing home-schooled – and his el­dest daugh­ter had been think­ing of en­rolling at the Univer­sity of the Western Cape.

The em­ployee said she felt sorry for Bey’s chil­dren. “They were sweet, run­ning around the ho­tel. I greeted them ev­ery morn­ing.”

She added the kids were keen skate­board­ers and of­ten headed to the Gar­dens skate park.

The Pep­per­club Ho­tel, with its heavy vel­vet drapes, has hosted sev­eral Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val artists over the years, in­clud­ing Hugh Masekela and Lau­ryn Hill. In Novem­ber it was home to vet­eran Bri­tish crooner En­gel­bert Humperdinck.

Af­ter leav­ing the ho­tel, Bey and his fam­ily moved into a flat in Sea Point, where he now has to re­port to po­lice twice a day as part of the bail con­di­tions is­sued by the Bel­lville Mag­is­trates’ Court last Fri­day.

Bey was ar­rested for try­ing to leave South Africa on a so-called world pass­port last Thurs­day.

The depart­ment of home affairs found mem­bers of his fam­ily were in the coun­try il­le­gally too, and or­dered that they leave within 14 days. Bey must re­main for his next court ap­pear­ance on March 8.

In his 10-minute recorded mes­sage to the world, Bey (42) lashed out at South African au­thor­i­ties.

“Why they (sic) raid­ing my place? I don’t feel safe. I com­mit­ted no crime. Why is the state wast­ing my time?

“I have rea­sons to sus­pect there are political mo­ti­va­tions be­hind the way I am treated. “I am grate­ful I haven’t been phys­i­cally harmed. “All I seek is to leave this state. I won’t sue for dam­ages. I just want to go home.”

He ends off by say­ing that he will re­tire from the mu­sic in­dus­try af­ter re­leas­ing one last al­bum later this year.

Bey and his fam­ily moved to Cape Town in May 2013. At the time, he said he was in South Africa to sort out his life.

In an in­ter­view with the Mail & Guardian in 2014, he said: “Last year May, I came [to Cape Town] and I said I’m not leav­ing. I’m stay­ing. It’s a beau­ti­ful place. It has the ocean, moun­tain, botan­i­cal gar­dens and beau­ti­ful peo­ple. I got the vibes to be here and now I’m here. It’s amaz­ing and it’s crazy.”

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