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Ryanair criticized over its ‘racist’ Afrikaans test for South Africans

South African Passport

Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, Irish ultra-low-cost carrier Ryanair, issued a statement confirming that it will indeed continue to require any South African passport holder, wishing to enter the United Kingdom, to take a mandatory Afrikaans language test.

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia, and, to a lesser extent, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Afrikaans is one of 11 official South African languages and is used by about 12% of the country’s estimated 60 million people, mainly the white minority.

Since the Irish carrier does not fly directly to and from South Africa, any South African nationals using Ryanair to travel to the United Kingdom from elsewhere in Europe, must fill out a “simple questionnaire” to prove their nationality to the airline.

The critics of the test are pointing out that the problem with Ryanair’s test is that the questionnaire is in Afrikaans and calls it ‘backward profiling’.

According to the UK High Commission in South Africa, the Afrikaans test was not a British government requirement to enter the United Kingdom.

Ryanair defends their practice by explaining that the abundance of fake South African passports was behind its mandatory Afrikaans test for South African passport holders traveling to Great Britain.

“Ryanair must ensure that all passengers travel on a valid SA passport/visa as required by UK Immigration,” that carrier said.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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