Mafikeng is star-struck by US celebs who weren’t there

2011-03-12 16:41

April Fools’ Day came to Mafikeng a month early. The whole town played the fool this week when a rumour swirled around that hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and his superstar singer wife, Beyoncé, were in the North West provincial capital.

Rapper Kanye West was said to have tagged along.

So strong was the talk that it spilled onto social networking sites Twitter and ­Facebook, and several news outlets were called by locals. Locally based radio station Motsweding FM also announced that the superstars were in Mafikeng.

People claimed that Jay-Z and Beyoncé were seen dining at the local Spur and shopping at Foschini. Others said they saw them at Setlopo, a village outside town, and that West, of Jesus Walks fame, was spotted at Slurry, a lime manufacturing plant just outside town.

People believed that the stars were staying at the luxurious Palace of the Lost City at Sun City, some 180km away, and were being ferried in every day by ­helicopter to work at the once prestigious Bop Recording Studios (BRS).

A police escort seen leaving the studios on Tuesday didn’t help matters, as locals believed that only American stars would warrant such protection.

When City Press ­arrived at BRS on Thursday, however, it was revealed that although there had been artists from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation stable there, they had left the same day and neither the man himself nor his leading lady had been there.

There was no trace of West.

The artists, who were working on a project called Act II, included Jay Electronica; Mr Porter, who worked with Eminem on his most recent album, Recovery; the crew from D12; a man said to be British singing star Seal’s brother; and a vocalist called LaTonya Jackson.

The musicians stayed at the ­chalets in the studio complex.

Universal Records, which represents Roc Nation in South Africa, denied any knowledge of Jay-Z and West’s presence, and Sony Music did the same regarding Beyoncé.

Bizarrely, some locals still believed it was a top-secret operation. Resident Thami Mthimkhulu said Jay-Z’s visit was a secret as he had definitely been at BRS.

So the town held onto its false memories of Jay-Z, Beyoncé and West, who have never set foot there.

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