“[He] has unreservedly apologized to the Government of South Africa,” the Home Affairs Department explained in a statement. “The department is satisfied with the apology [and] will withdraw the charges against him.” Reuters reports that South Africa will place Bey on its list of undesirable persons after he exits the country, and he will not be allowed to return.
Bey was arrested in January for attempting to leave South Africa with a “world passport,” after reportedly overstaying his visitor’s permit. The “world passport” is issued by the World Service Authority, a non-profit which, according to its website, aims “to provide a global political service institution for the installation and maintenance of world peace.” Though the WSA claims there are one million registered world citizens, many countries, including South Africa, do not acknowledge “world passports” as proof of identity or legal travel documents.
Despite his legal issues, Bey managed to continue making music this year, releasing songs like “Local Time” and “Dec. 99th – N.A.W.” and collaborating with A Tribe Called Red and BADBADNOTGOOD. In a video streamed on Facebook Live in October, the rapper suggested he would retire this year. “I do have one or two films that I made commitments to earlier, before I announced my retirement,” he said, according to Pitchfork. “Apart from that, I’m moving onto other things, still being creative: you know, definitely fashion, textiles, and just art. Whatever I can create that’s beautiful and useful, that’s what I wanna do.”