Ryanair stirs fury with Afrikaans nationality test

Ryanair has sparked anger by requiring its South African passengers to prove their nationality by completing a test in Afrikaans, a language used by just by 12% of the population that has long been identified with apartheid and the white minority.

The airline said it required any UK-bound passengers from the country to fill in the "simple questionnaire", due to what it described as a high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports.

A spokesman for Ryanair, which does not operate flights to or from South Africa, said that any passengers unable to complete the questionnaire would be refused travel and issued with a refund.

CEO of the Afrikaans Language Council Conrad Steenkamp warned the move could lead to legal action.

"They're using this in a manner that is utterly absurd. Afrikaans, you have roughly 20% of the population of South Africa understand Afrikaans but the rest don't so you're sitting with roughly 50 million people who do not understand Afrikaans. So they might as well have taken Zulu, which is the biggest language in South Africa, and used that, if they really wanted to use one of the bigger languages."

Ryanair said the test would apply to any South African passport holder flying to the UK from another part of Europe on the carrier.

The UK High Commission in South Africa said on Twitter that the test was not a British government requirement to enter the United Kingdom.

The test created outrage among South African citizens, who say an Afrikaans test proves nothing.

"It's very discriminatory to a whole host of South Africans who don't speak Afrikaans."

Afrikaans is the third most spoken of 11 official languages in South Africa.

It was considered the official language until the end of apartheid in 1994.

Source: Reuters

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