Ryanair criticized for introducing testing Afrikaans for South African travelers

(CNN) – Ryanair has come under fire for requiring South African travelers to take an Afrikaans language test to prove their citizenship before boarding flights.

The low-cost airline was accused of racial discrimination after introducing a West Germanic language test to passengers, which was forced into black South Africa under apartheid and is used by only an estimated 12% of the population.

News of the test emerged last month after it was revealed that a passenger was traveling from Portugal to London Twitter That he was required to complete a “two-page test in Afrikaans” before he was allowed to board his flight.

The move sparked outrage among South Africans, with many taking to social media to criticize the airline, noting that South Africa has 11 official languages, and many citizens do not speak Afrikaans.

‘Insane and discriminatory’

Ryanair has since issued a statement announcing that the test, made up of questions relating to South African general knowledge, was issued in response to the “high prevalence” of fake South African passports.

The statement reads: “Due to the high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports, we are asking travelers to the UK to fill out a simple questionnaire issued in Afrikaans.”

“If they are unable to complete this survey, their travel will be denied and a full refund issued.”

Afrikaans is the third most spoken language in South Africa after Zulu and Xhosa.

Ryanair does not operate direct flights to or from South Africa. It is not clear if the test requirement applies to all Ryanair flights or only those to the UK.

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CNN has contacted Ryanair for comment.

Highest image credit: Adrian DennisAFP via Getty Images

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