South Africans furious over Ryanair nationality test in Afrikaans, language of former apartheid rulers

South Africans furious over Ryanair nationality test in Afrikaans, language of former apartheid rulers

South Africans furious over Ryanair nationality test in Afrikaans, language of former apartheid rulers

Johannesburg — Shocked South Africans have taken to social media to express their outrage that Ryanair have some passengers take a test in Afrikaans in order to fly. Last week, the airline began asking passengers flying to the UK with South African passports to take the test to prove their nationality, in the language spoken by less than 20% of the South African population. .

Zulu is the most widely spoken language in South Africa at over 20%, followed by Xhosa and then Afrikaans at 13%.

Ryanair defended the policy, saying in a statement that the test was introduced because of the “high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports”.

But the relatively low prevalence of Afrikaans speakers in the country left many wondering on social media why the airline had chosen to test people in the language imposed by the long-expelled colonialists. white minority rulers during the days of apartheid

One Twitter user criticized the airline, writing: “Seriously @ryanair? This is bigoted nonsense. All South Africans speak Afrikaans?” would be proud of you.”

“South Africa has 11 official languages,” rebuked another user on the social network. “We are no longer in Apartheid, teach yourself.”

Next week, on June 16, South Africa will mark National Youth Day, which commemorates the student uprising of 1976 when thousands of children took to the streets to protest that Afrikaans was being imposed as the sole, compulsory language of the country’s education system.

Police responded with live ammunition and tear gas, which killed more than 176 students.


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South African officials have said they were surprised by the airline’s test in African, calling it a “backward profiling system,” according to Reuters news agency. The country’s interior ministry runs a 24-hour operations center that airlines can access to verify passports.

The 15 questions on the airline’s nationality test include things like asking people to give the country’s access code and name the president, as well as naming three of the official languages.

In its statement, Ryanair said that if passengers “are unable to complete the questionnaire, they will be refused travel and will receive a full refund.”