(CNN) – Ryanair has come under fire for asking South African tourists to take the Afrikaans test to prove their nationality before boarding flights.
The low-cost airline is accused of racial discrimination after presenting passengers with a test in West German, which was imposed on black South Africans under apartheid and is used by an estimated 12% of the population.
The move sparked outrage among South Africans, with many criticizing the airline on social media, pointing out 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 examination, which was composed of questions relating to South African general knowledge, was issued in response to the “high prevalence” of fake South African passports.
“To reduce the risk of using a fake passport, Ryanair requires passengers on South African passports to fill out a simple questionnaire in the African language,” reads a statement to CNN.
“If they are unable to complete the questionnaire, they will be denied travel and will be given a full refund instead.
“Airlines operating in the UK face a Home Office penalty of £ 2,000 (approximately $ 2,515) per passenger for anyone traveling illegally in the UK on a fraudulent passport / visa.”
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.
Top Image Credits: Adrian Dennis AFP by Getty Images