Pretty Yende

Pretty Yende: SA opera star accuses French authorities of harassment

Andile Sicetsha - 24.06.2021

Pretty Yende spent three hours locked in a cold room after she was told she couldn’t enter Paris.

Talented opera singer Pretty Yende has captured the world’s attention for accusing French authorities of stripping her of her human dignity.

As reported by New York Times, Yende, a South African national, landed at the Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France, on Monday, ahead of her starring in a marquee La Sonnambula performance.

Pretty Yende details horror treatment from French authorities

However, things quickly turned for the worst when she was approached by officials who informed her that she did not have proper documents to enter the country.

Yende was taken to an interrogation room and questioned for hours. The 36-year-old’s visit to Paris was expected to be an uneventful one. But, hours into her arrival in France, she quickly realised that she was in for a nightmarish experience.

Failing to convince officials of the awful mishap she was unfortunately dragged into, French authorities allegedly coerced Yende into a body search that left the opera star feeling violated.

“I felt stripped of my human dignity. It was absolutely uncomfortable,” she said.

In a social media post that’s since gone viral, Yende confirmed that she was not asked to remove her clothing. However, authorities ordered her to remove her shoes and she was kept in a cold and dark room for hours, the kind of treatment only reserved “for someone who looks like me.”

SA government responds to Yende’s claims

France’s national police have refuted claims made by the 36-year-old. In their defence, authorities claim that standard procedure was followed in questioning her after she had failed to present a valid one-time visa.

She was patted down by a female officer and while her shoes and cellphone were confiscated pending the outcome of their probe, French police claim she was offered access to a landline phone.

“We did what we do with any passenger facing the same problems,” the police noted.

Yende arrived at the airport at 15:00, coming in from Italy where she resides, and by 18:00 she was granted a visa and allowed access into Paris where she was scheduled to perform at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on Tuesday.

The opera star’s ordeal was taken up by South Africa’s embassy in France and thus far, nothing soluble has come from its probe into the matter.

The South African government also chimed in, stating that it has noted the incident.