Update: Ryanair airline drops controversial South African Afrikaans test

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary holds a news conference on EU climate change policies, in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2022
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary

Ryanair has dropped a controversial test in the Afrikaans language aimed at identifying passengers travelling on fake South African passports.

Boss Michael O’Leary said imposing the test “doesn’t make any sense”.

The policy caused outrage in South Africa, where many black people associate Afrikaans with the days of white-minority rule.

South Africa has 11 official languages and Ryanair never explained why it chose Afrikaans.

The quiz contained questions such as what is South Africa’s international dialling code, what is its capital city and who is the current president of the country.

Anyone who failed was refused travel and refunded the cost of their ticket. Ryanair originally defended the test saying it received a fine for every passenger found to have travelled on a fake passport.

In a statement issued last week, Ryanair said it had to carry out the extra test because of “substantially increased cases of fraudulent South African passports being used to enter the UK”.

The budget airline runs flights across Europe.

But the imposition of the quiz was widely condemned.

More than a week after the controversy blew up, Mr O’Leary has said the airline has changed its policy. “Our team issued a test in Afrikaans of 12 simple questions,” he told journalists.

“They have no difficulty completing that. But we didn’t think it was appropriate either. So we have ended the Afrikaans test, because it doesn’t make any sense.”

The imposition of Afrikaans in schools was the main reason behind the 1976 Soweto uprising against the apartheid regime, in which at least 170 people were killed, mostly schoolchildren.

South Africa has 11 official languages: Zulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Setswana, English, Sesotho, Xitsonga, Siswati, Tshivenda and Ndebele.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s