The hip-hop star, also known as Yasiin Bey, was detained on Thursday for allegedly possessing an incorrect travel document when trying to depart from Cape Town International Airport.
Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said Mos Def told authorities that he was carrying a “world passport”, but the official told The Associated Press, “There is no such thing”.
However, the 42-year-old is now refuting the statements, insisting the passport does exist, and he did no wrong.
“From what I’ve read their allegations are wrong,” his representative tells Okayafrica.com. “He attempted to leave the country for a professional commitment and was denied the ability to board an airplane after providing his World Passport.”
“It’s issued by the World Service – in support of the UN Declaration of Human Rights,” he adds. “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.”
Bey’s representative explains he uses a World Passport for political reasons.
“He considers himself a world citizen and wanted to to use his World Passport in support of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights,” the representative says. “Although South Africa did not sign the declaration in 1948 – probably because they were governed by Apartheid at the time – Nelson Mandela believed it was a necessary document for the continued growth of South Africa after the abolishment of Apartheid.”
Mos Def has been living in South Africa since May, 2013.