British budget airline Ryanair’s ridiculous test to board a plane was tested locally and showed that several South Africans would battle to pass the test in Afrikaans, despite being able to answer most of the questions in English.
Recently the news of the Ryanair airline’s decision to quiz South African passport holders in Afrikaans before allowing them onboard raised eyebrows.
The airline said due to the high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports, passengers travelling to the UK were required to fill out a simple questionnaire in Afrikaans.
“If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be refused travel and issued with a full refund,” Ryanair said.
Further queries and questions were still unanswered.
Citizen tests Tshwane residents’ Afrikaans prowess
Tshwane resident Simphiwe Mukape managed to answer most of the basic questions about South Africa written in Afrikaans.
“I am lucky because I understand Afrikaans, but for the people who do not understand it, it’s unfair.
“Why not put it in English, it’s a universal language? Then everyone can understand,” he said.
Sabelo Andrew tried to answer the Afrikaans quiz but only got a handful of questions correct.
“I never did Afrikaans in school, serious. I’ve just picked up a word here and there,” he said.
Andrew said people should talk to each other more.
“Imagine if every day I hear a new word, it will be easier to learn it,” he said.
He said he could speak six African languages, but not Afrikaans.
Ndumiso Nzuza hardly understood a single question and answered most incorrectly. “It’s not fair because some of us were never privileged enough to learn other languages, especially coming from KwaZulu-Natal. There it was either English or Zulu,” he said.
Nzuza said since relocating to Pretoria he had learned Tswana and Sotho.
Test slammed as ‘ridiculous’
Department of international relations and cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the Ryanair faux pas was an issue of travel documents and has nothing to do with diplomacy, because the Afrikaans questionnaire was introduced by an airline, not the UK government.
DA shadow minister of tourism Manny de Freitas said the DA had received several queries about Ryanair’s decision to quiz South African passport holders in Afrikaans.
“The DA strongly condemns Ryanair’s bizarre approach,” he said.
De Freitas said it was ridiculous to assess a South African’s citizenship by his or her ability to speak Afrikaans.
“A person’s ability to speak and understand a specific language is not a criterion for citizenship,” he added.
De Freitas said companies like Ryanair were resorting to these measures because of the significant number of fraudulent South African passports that transit through UK borders.
“The root of the problem is the South African government which does not have stringent enough processes to ensure the integrity of South African passports,” he said.
De Freitas said this was another example of the state failing its citizens day by day.
“As a result, law-abiding South African tourists entering the UK are being lumped in the same boat as those with fraudulent passports,” he said.