Ryanair faces fury for asking South Africans to prove nationality with Afrikaans test

The airline has been accused of racial discrimination following the move

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Budget airline Ryanair has ignited fury for requesting South African passengers to take an Afrikaans test to prove their nationality before boarding flights.

The company have since been accused of racial discrimination, after presenting passengers with a test in the West Germanic language, which was forced upon black South Africans under Apartheid.

Afrikaans is only spoken by approximately 12 percent of the South African population.

Ryanair claimed the test was produced to curb increasing use of counter-fit South African passports
Ryanair claimed the test was produced to curb increasing use of counter-fit South African passports
Ryanair Boss Micheal O'Leary is yet to comment on the move
Ryanair Boss Micheal O'Leary is yet to comment on the move

The announcement follows a tweet from a passenger, who was presented with a "two-page test in Afrikaans" before being permitted to board his flight from Portugal to London.

South Africans have retaliated to the move by Ryanair, stating that there are 11 official languages spoken in the country, with many not speaking Afrikaans.

Following the claims, Ryanair released a statement declaring that the test – comprised of questions related to South African general knowledge – was issued in response to the "high prevalence" of counterfeit South African passports.

A spokesperson for the airline said: “Due to the high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports, we require passengers travelling to the UK to fill out a simple questionnaire issued in Afrikaans.

"If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be refused travel and issued with a full refund.”

The South African government said on Tuesday it was taken aback by Ryanair's decision to force UK-bound travellers holding the country's passport to take a test in Afrikaans language to prove nationality, calling the move a "backward profiling system".

The Department of Home Affairs in South Africa said local government had procedures that it regularly shares with airlines to halt any instances of fake documents.

"We are taken aback by the decision of this airline because the Department regularly communicates with all airlines to update them on how to validate South African passports, including the look and feel," the department said.

The UK High Commission in South Africa confirmed in a statement via Twitter that the test is not a UK Government requirement.