(CNN) — Ryanair has come under fire for asking South African travelers to take an African test to prove their nationality before boarding.
The low-cost airline has been accused of racial discrimination after offering passengers a test in the West Germanic language, which was forced on black South Africans under apartheid and is used by only an estimated 12% of the population.
The move sparked anger among South Africans, with many taking to social media to criticize the airline, pointing out that South Africa has 11 official languages and many nationals do not speak Afrikaans.
‘Insane and discriminatory’
Ryanair has since released a statement stating that the test, consisting of questions related to the general knowledge of South Africa, was issued in response to the “high prevalence” of false South African passports.
“To minimize the risk of false passports, Ryanair requires passengers with South African passports to complete a simple questionnaire in the African language,” the statement told CNN.
“If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, their travel will be refused and will be given a full refund instead.
“Airlines flying to the UK face fines of £2,000 (approximately $2,515) per passenger for anyone traveling illegally to the UK with a fraudulent passport/visa.”
Afrikaans is the third most widely spoken language in South Africa after Zulu and Xhosa.
Ryanair does not operate direct flights to or from South Africa.
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