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Tuesday 7 June 2022

Ryanair in weird racism row

The controversial budget airline Ryanair is at the centre of a bizarre row after insisting passengers with South African passports take a test in the Afrikaans language.

Many South Africans detest Afrikaans as the language of oppression during apartheid.

Ryanair has been accused of discrimination, the BBC reports. Also, perhaps, gross stupidity, and maybe racism.

South Africa has 11 official languages, and many black people detest Afrikaans - a language many were forced to learn during white-minority rule.

The quiz contains questions on South African general knowledge.

Ryanair defended the test, saying it weeds out those travelling on fraudulent South African passports.

“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," it said in a statement.

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

Only around 13% of South Africans speak Afrikaans as a first language, well behind speakers of Zulu, Xhosa and English.

The BBC asked Ryanair why they required the test to be taken in Afrikaans rather than any other South African language, but the company did not answer.

The test is not required by UK border authorities.

Conrad Steenkamp, the head of South Africa's Afrikaans Language Board, described it as "absurd" and said it had hindered attempts to improve the image of the Afrikaans language.

The test appears to have been enforced by the airline after the South African Government raised concerns over an alleged spate of ID fraud, saying criminals were manufacturing and selling fake South African passports.

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