Thursday, 24 June 2021

Pretoria: Government says it has noted with concern how acclaimed international opera singer, Pretty Yende, was treated at the Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France, on Monday.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the South African Embassy in Paris has since written to French authorities seeking an explanation and thorough investigation into the matter.

This comes after French police at the airport allegedly detained Yenda for almost three hours based on claims that her Italian residence permit was invalid.

The soprano took to Instagram to share about the “police brutality” she experienced at the hands of law enforcement.

“I’ve always read about it on the news and most of my brothers and sister end up being tortured and some fatal cases make headlines and dead bodies suddenly appear with made-up stories,” she wrote on social media.

“I am one of the very lucky ones to be alive to see the day today even with the ill-treatment and outrageous racial discrimination and psychological torture and very offensive racial comments in a country that I’ve given so much of my heart and virtue to.”

The 36-year-old claims that the officials also took all her belongings, including her cell phone, and threatened her.

“It was cold in there and they left me there alone with the landline phone and a piece of paper they gave me to write down phone numbers of those I could call. Most of them refused to address me in English. There were more than 10 police officers I could hear talking and laughing down the hallway.”

The Mpumalanga-born singer said she has a regular residence permit, which allows her to “circulate” outside the Italian territory and valid until 20 September, and indicates that it is issued for self-employment.

“Ms Yende informed the South African Embassy in Paris that she was verbally abused by the police and her rights and dignity were violated during the ordeal,” the department said on Thursday.

According to the DIRCO statement, further to the correspondence by the South African Embassy in Paris, the department will “demarche” the French Ambassador to South Africa based in Pretoria to convey its displeasure at the treatment of Yende.