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Advisory: Africans should boycott #Ryanair; forcing South Africans to do Afrikaans tests to prove passports


South Africans have said being forced to take tests in Afrikaans to verify their passports is ‘discrimination’. 

Multiple South Africans have recently had to answer general knowledge questions in Afrikaans to enter the UK or Ireland, despite this not being a rule officially enforced by either country. 


The seemingly new policy is Ryanair’s effort to combat a ‘high prevalence in fraudulent South African passports’, the airline told Metro.co.uk. 

It comes after government officials were arrested for allegedly running an illegal operation to sell fake passports for £258 (R5,000).

Afrikaans is just one of the country’s 11 official languages and is spoken daily by about 14% of the population. 


Dinesh Joseph, 45, who speaks English, told Metro.co.uk the test felt like ‘profiling and discrimination’. 

His flight from Gatwick to Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, on May 18 went smoothly but he ran into problems when he tried to return home in north west London on May 22. 

He said he was told ‘this is your language’ when he asked for a form in English.

Page one of the RyanAir Afrikaans test. 
RyanAir confirmed it is making South Africans do tests in Afrikaans to board flights in the UK and Europe.
The test included questions about the country’s capital, its currency and its president (Pictures: Dinesh Joseph)
Page 2 of the Ryanair Afrikaans test. 
Ryanair confirmed it is making South Africans do tests in Afrikaans to board flights in the UK and Europe.
Ryanair staff reportedly insisted South Africans could only do the test in Afrikaans (Pictures: Dinesh Joseph)
Dinesh Joseph smiling. 
RyanAir confirmed it is making South Africans do tests in Afrikaans to board flights in the UK and Europe.
Dinesh said he felt upset after having to do the test despite being ‘a laid back guy’ (Picture: Dinesh Joseph)

Dinesh ended up using Google Translate to complete the test and he managed to make his flight but said it was ‘an awful experience’. 

Some were not as lucky, including Catherine Bronze, 49, and her 11-year-old son Kolby who were not allowed to to get onto their flight to go back to their home in Essex. 

When Catherine got to the Ryanair check-in desk at West Knock Airport in Ireland on May 22, she was handed the same Afrikaans test. 

She explained she did not speak Afrikaans, but was reportedly told to ‘try her best’. 

When the English-speaking mum got some of the questions wrong, she and Kolby were denied boarding passes. 

Catherine Bronze and her son. 
RyanAir confirmed it is making South Africans do tests in Afrikaans to board flights in the UK and Europe.
Catherine Bronze was stuck in Ireland with her son for two extra days (Picture: Catherine Bronze)

They were only able to get home without doing a test after Catherine’s husband, who has a British passport, came to fetch his family and travelled with them from Dublin Airport two days later.

Catherine, who is a ‘nervous traveller at the best of times’, said: ‘It was the first time I felt like I was being discriminated against for something out of my control – because it was immediately assumed that my passport was wrong.

‘I know it sounds ridiculous but it actually felt traumatic, everyone was looking at me and I cried a lot.’


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