US rapper Mos Def’s family on Friday tried desperately to secure a longer stay in South Africa after immigration authorities gave them until Friday night to leave because they are allegedly here illegally.
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that a prominent member of former President Nelson Mandela’s family, his grandson Zondwa Mandela, stepped in to help the rapper and his family after his arrest in Cape Town last month.
The immigration woes dogging Mos Def, who now goes by the name Yasiin Bey, made news around the world after he released a statement about his troubles two weeks ago.
It was then broadcast on fellow US rapper Kanye West’s official website and shared thousands of times.
On Friday, Mos Def’s legal team tried to secure an urgent order from the Western Cape High Court allowing his wife, mother and five minor children to be allowed to stay in South Africa for longer than the initial deadline they were given.
Last month, Mos Def was barred from leaving South Africa, while his family was told they would have to leave by January 29.
“They want to extend their stay and leave together as a unit,” lawyer Shaheid Schrueder, a member of the family’s legal team, told Independent Media on Friday.
The team had wanted the matter to be heard as an urgent application on Friday in the High Court, but by late afternoon the various parties involved were still in discussions.
It appeared it would instead be heard on Tuesday.
Mos Def’s family would therefore probably remain in the country until the matter was ironed out.
Schrueder said the case could deter other international celebrities from visiting South Africa.
“We should encourage Hollywood stars to come and use our country,” he said.
Mos Def faces charges for trying to leave Cape Town for Ethiopia using a World Passport, a document which can be downloaded from the internet and which Home Affairs department officials said was not recognised as an official travel paper.
Last month, when Mos Def appeared in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court after spending a night in custody, he was granted R5 000 bail.
He was barred from leaving the country pending the court case against him.
His family was given until the end of yesterday to leave because one of the charges he faced was for allegedly aiding and abetting relatives, including his wife and mother, who were accused of being in South Africa illegally since 2014.
When Mos Def appeared in court last month, Zondwa Mandela was present in the public gallery and sat near the rapper’s mother.
On Friday, Craig Smith, who was Mos Def’s legal representative during the Bellville proceedings, confirmed that Mandela had put him and Mos Def in touch.
He said Mandela was a client of his and an acquaintance of Mos Def.
Following Mos Def’s arrest, Mandela had approached Smith.
“Mandela was a little concerned with the assistance (Mos Def was receiving), hence he got me on board… He’s a very sweet guy,” Smith said.
Mos Def is expected back in the Bellville Magistrates Court in March.