BUT THE VISA IS FALSE, AS ARE THE “LAWYERS”, AND CHRISTIAN BAKALANGA IS BEHIND BARS.
Chris, along with his keyboard and guitar, has been locked up at Tembisa Police Station since Friday.
He was bust when he presented his passport at OR Tambo International Airport.
He could not travel to Malawi with the rest of the band members because he was stopped by the police and members of the department of Home Affairs.
The rest of the team performed at Malawi’s popular Lake of Stars Festival which took place on Saturday.
According to a source, Chris, who is originally from the DRC, has been in the country since 2005 and has been staying with his fiancee in Cape Town since then.
The source said Chris’s visa had expired and when he went to Home Affairs to get a new visa, he found the queues were very long.
“Time was not on his side,” said the source.
“Chris went through so-called lawyers who helped him to get a new visa, but it was found to be invalid by Home Affairs.”
Attorneys have been at the Tembisa cop shop trying to get him out of the cells.
It is not yet known whether he will be deported or face criminal charges.
Tembisa police spokeswoman Constable Patricia Mgijima confirmed that a Freshlyground member was arrested on Friday and has been detained at the station.
It’s not the first time the band has travelled to perform in Malawi.
Freshlyground released their debut album, Jika Jika, early in 2003 and since then have had a number of hits locally and in southern Africa. They recently won a Sama for Best Music Video with Jack Parow.
Simon Attwell, who represents Freshlyground, informed Daily Sun by e-mail that Chris had been arrested, but said neither Chris nor the group knew the visa was fraudulent.
“A criminal case has been laid against the immigration practitioner who facilitated the alleged false permit,” said the e-mail.
He said Chris is positive the matter will be sorted out and they have appointed attorneys to represent him.