Ryanair forces South Africans to prove citizenship with a test

Photo: ANP

Ryanair requires South Africans traveling to the UK to prove their citizenship by taking an Afrikaans language test. Europe’s largest budget airline has imposed this measure to prevent the use of fake South African passports.

The questionnaire contains fifteen general knowledge questions about South Africa, including questions about what is the country’s capital and what is called the highest mountain. “If they are unable to complete the survey, their travel will be refused and a full refund will be given to them,” Ryanair said in a statement.

Ryanair itself does not operate flights to and from South Africa, and the test applies to all South African passengers traveling with the airline to the UK from another part of Europe. The British High Commission in South Africa said via Twitter that the test is not a requirement by the British government to enter the UK.

The news about the measure sparked already strong reactions on social media in South Africa last weekend. Alex Macheras, an independent aviation analyst, called it “categorically insane and discriminatory.” Afrikaans is spoken by only 12 percent of the population and is a legacy of Dutch settlers in the 17th century. The language is identified with the apartheid and white minority in the country.

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Megan Vasquez

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