How good is your taal? If you can’t remember your high school Afrikaans, low cost airline Ryanair may not let you fly! People are outraged after learning the popular airline has been making South African travellers take a general knowledge test…. in Afrikaans before flying between their popular European and UK destinations.
The quiz asked about the capital city of South Africa and weirdly, the highest mountain in SA (If you were wondering, that’s the Mafadi peak).
Ryanair, which confirmed the test, cited the prevalence of passport fraud with South African passports as the issue. They’re not wrong – there has been concern that international criminal syndicates are increasingly using passports for illicit activities. (Government made arrests recently in a bid to crack down on the problem). But, wow, did Ryanair pick a triggering way to deal with it.
Next week marks Youth Day, which commemorates the apartheid regime’s deadly response to Soweto school children who were protesting against Afrikaans as the compulsory medium of instruction. Due to our fractured history, the language still has bad connotations for many black South Africans, though it must be noted it now has more black speakers than white, among Coloured South Africans. More to the point, however, is that it is spoken by just 13% of the population, meaning the test wasn’t very logical!
Like us, SA’s Home Affairs department thought the airline’s actions were ‘n bietjie vreemd. They said airlines had access to systems that screened passengers before they even boarded flights. “It is not clear to which extent the airline had used these services before resorting to this backward profiling system,” said a spokesperson.
Do better, Ryanair. Sies.