CAPE TOWN - American rapper Mos Def appeared in a South African court Friday after being arrested for allegedly using an illegal "world passport" as he tried to leave the country, officials said.
The 42-year-old hip hop artist, actor and activist, whose real name is Dante Terrel Smith, was taken into custody overnight for contravening immigration laws.
"Mr Smith attempted to depart the country from the Cape Town International Airport by producing an unrecognised 'World Passport'," said a statement from the department of home affairs.
"Further investigation into the matter revealed that Mr Smith's wife, mother and four children had overstayed and were sojourning in the country illegally."
It added that he had entered the country on a tourist visa using a US passport.
Mos Def is believed to have been living in Cape Town for several years.
He tried to leave the country on January 9 and was arrested on Thursday.
In 2014 Mos Def' who also calls himself Yasiin Bey' cancelled a planned tour of the United States due to what his publicists called "legal and immigration issues".
In his acclaimed hip-hop career he produced classic solo albums and LPs with Talib Kweli as Black Star.