Freshlyground musician Christian Bakalanga has spoken for the first time about his traumatic stay in police custody‚ after being arrested for attempting to use a fraudulent visa last week.
The guitarist was taken into custody at O.R Tambo International Airport after police found that he had attempted to travel using the ‘fake’ visa.
He spent several days in custody at the Tembisa police station before being released on Tuesday evening. No charges have been laid against him.
Speaking to TshisaLIVE on Friday‚ only days after his release from custody‚ Christian described the ordeal as a nightmare that he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to wake up from.
“It was a horrible experience and one that hurt me. I just spent hours and hours looking at the world around me‚ not knowing if anything was real. I thought of the little things in life and how we take small things like sunshine and freedom for granted.”
“It was not nice. My family was so worried but they stayed positive. They knew that I didn’t do anything wrong‚” he added.
“It was never suspicious to me“
Chris made headlines earlier this week when news of his arrest first surfaced‚ raising questions of how he had come to obtain the fraudulent document.
He maintains his innocence in the matter‚ saying that he had researched an immigration agency to help him renew his visa‚ thinking that the agency would assist him in getting the correct documentation needed.
“You need to use an agency when applying for these documents and this agency seemed to have a lot of experience in helping people get their documents. So it was never suspicious to me. I didn’t think that the visa they were helping me obtain was fraudulent. I had done everything perfectly‚” Christian explained.
It was only when he was stopped at the airport that he was shocked to learn that the document was not recognised by immigration officials.
“I was so shocked when they told me (it was not recognised). I kept asking them to repeat themselves. I told them I had travelled many times in and out of the country and this was not my first time‚” Christian recounts.
“I am the victim here“
The whole ordeal has left Christian shaken and feeling “embarrassed“. But he is positive that the entire matter will be sorted out by his representatives who have taken his case before the Department of Home Affairs.
“I am the victim here. I am the victim of a bad and unfortunate situation and now I have to take it. I never had any intention to try use a fraudulent document‚” Christian says.
For now‚ Christian is not able to travel. But he assures fans that he is hard at work with Freshlyground on their upcoming album.
“They have been amazing. Everything that I have gone through‚ they have gone through. I really can’t express how grateful I am to them and also to my fans for supporting me during this hard time. We really are a family‚” he adds.