Yasiin 'Mos Def' Bey Is Allowed to Leave South Africa After Getting In Trouble For His 'World Passport'

Image via AP.
Image via AP.

Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has been living in Cape Town since May 2013, and his visitor’s permit expired by 2014, according to the AP. That year, a planned U.S. tour was cancelled when he was unable to re-enter the states. He was arrested in January of 2016 when he attempted to leave South Africa with a “world passport,” a 30-page document that is not recognized as legitimate by any country.

Hard to say why it took so long for Bey to be arrested without doing some extensive investigation into the immigration laws of South Africa, but attempting to exit the country with fake papers was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The BBC reports that Bey was released and allowed to leave based on his apology. They also say that he has confirmed he will be using a valid passport to depart, so I guess he had one the whole time. He will now be considered an “undesirable person” who cannot reenter the country, though he can apply to waive that decree in future.


World passports are distributed by the World Service Authority, which is a non-profit set up in the U.S. that believes everyone should be able to leave and enter any country they like whenever they want. On their website they claim “160 countries have visaed it[the passport] on a case-by-case basis,” but also describe the document as a “symbol and sometimes powerful tool for the implementation of the fundamental human right of freedom of travel.”

South Africa must not be on the list of countries that accepts this particular symbol.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


The Noble Renard

Whew. Going through the World Service Authority’s website is a trip. It’s a time capsule to early 2000s web design, for one. The site is filled with paeans to making a better world but when you really get down to it? They’re lefty Sovereign Citizens, except they’ve come up with the “brilliant” idea of charging people $75 to print a worthless “passport” that will do nothing. Oh, and they also encourage you to only pay taxes towards “peaceful” pursuits of your national government, and donate the remaining portion that you would have paid from your taxes to the World Service Authority. Why do they need your money? Well, “for the evolution of your global government,” of course.

In other words, they’re a scam/cult disguised as a lefty sovereign citizen organization.