First confusion and now anger as it has been revealed that Ryanair has recently been asking South African passport holders to complete a test in Afrikaans to prove they really are South African.
Before being allowed to board the low-cost airline’s planes, South African passport holders have been asked to write a test, proving that they are legitimate passport holders.
These tests were specifically for flights to and from the United Kingdom.
The tests, only supplied in Afrikaans, had major implications for the language in South Africa. That’s according to the CEO of the Afrikaans Language Board, Conrad Steenkamp.
Rapport reported that Steenkamp said the airline’s decision, together with the push back on the language in South Africa, makes it very difficult for the board as it tries to show that Afrikaans is a friendly language.
The British High Commissioner tweeted that the test was not a UK government requirement, but rather a decision taken by the airline itself.
Steenkamp argued that it is absurd to expect all South Africans to speak Afrikaans as the country has 11 official languages and only 20 million South Africans speak or understand Afrikaans.
He went on to argue that because Afrikaans is so similar to Dutch, the world’s 21 million Dutch speakers should then be able to complete the quiz even though they’re not Afrikaans or South African.
News24 reports that 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”.
Image credit: Reuters