A new rule put in place by Ryanair to subject South Africans to a general knowledge test in Afrikaans has sparked serious allegations of discrimination. The airline is currently carrying out the test for everyone traveling on a South African passport and it is entirely in Afrikaans. However, many people were quick to point out that there are 11 other popular languages in South Africa and Afrikaans ranks third. It is also a language that played a controversial role in the oppression of black citizens during the notorious apartheid era. Some concerns were also raised regarding the subject matter of the test, as they felt it would not help identify a genuine passport holder.
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Zulu and Xhosa are currently the two most popular languages in South Africa.
Ryanair, on the other hand, clarified that the sole purpose of the test is to reduce the high number of people who travel with fake South African passports. A spokesperson for the company said that “due to the high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports, we ask passengers traveling to the UK to complete a simple questionnaire delivered in Afrikaans. If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be refused the trip and given a full refund.
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The decision to carry out the test was taken after the South African government said the manufacture and sale of fake South African passports had increased in recent times. But the UK government has said the test is not compulsory.
(With agency contributions)
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Post expires at 11:17am on Thursday June 16th, 2022