Hip-hop veteran Mos Def, or Dante Terrell Smith – otherwise known as Yasiin Bey – was arrested at Cape Town International Airport for trying to exit the country with an illegal “World Passport” document. According to Mayihlome Tshwete, spokesman for the South African Department of Home Affairs, the Brooklyn-born artist didn’t have the “necessary permits” for he and his family to be living in South Africa. Smith was detained along with his family as they were leaving the country, Tshwete tweeted, later appearing in court Friday.
Mr Smith has been living in SA with his family without the necessary permits, he was detained upon departure for using illegal travel docs
— Mayi (@MTshwete) January 15, 2016
“The Department Of Home Affairs has given Mr Smith and his family 14 days to leave the republic,” tweeted Tshwete.
Smith had entered South Africa on a legitimate U.S. passport, says Tshwete, but he overstayed his visitor’s permit. Under the name “Yasiin Bey”, the rapper attempted to leave using a “World Passport”, a shady piece of paper similar in appearance to a passport or travel document that can be printed off of the internet.
Typically in a situation like this the person would be deported to his or her home country, however according to Tshwete Smith has renounced his American citizenship. This is an issue that’s gotten in Smith’s way before, causing him to cancel a 2014 tour because of U.S. immigration laws.
“I lived in Brooklyn 33 years of my life. I thought I’d be buried in that place,” he told Rolling Stone last March. “Around seven years ago, I was like, you know, ‘I gotta go, I gotta leave.’ It’s very hard to leave. And I lived in a lot of places. Central America. North America. Europe for a while.”
“And I came to Cape Town in 2009, and it just hit me. I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I know when a good vibe gets to you. And, you know, I thought about this place every day from when I left. I was like, ‘I’m comin’ back.'”