Irish budget Airline Ryanair has abandoned its requirement for South African passengers to complete a questionnaire in Afrikaans to prove their nationality after being ousted earlier this month.
A South African expat shared on Twitter that she and her 11-year-old son were denied their boarding passes after "failing" said test by getting three out of fifteen questions incorrect. The test included questions like "What is the country's national flower?", "On which side of the road must you drive in South Africa?" and "What is the name of South Africa's biggest city?"
The decision to scrap the questionnaire comes after the airline released a statement backing the bogus requirement stating that the increase of fraudulent South African passports prompted the need for the test.
"This is why Ryanair must ensure that all passengers (especially South African citizens) travel on a valid SA passport/visa as required by UK Immigration," reasoned the airline.
Despite the airline not operating any flights between the UK and South Africa, proof of nationality from South African fliers entering Britain from anywhere in Europe is still required.
The airline faced significant backlash from the South African Department of Home Affairs, who expressed how taken aback they were by the airline's process calling it "a backward profiling system.". Furthermore, the UK High Commission in South Africa affirmed that Ryanair's test has never been a requirement for the British Government.
South African citizens weighed in on the matter, expressing their deep displeasure, emphasizing the Afrikaans language's painful past in the country as it is linked with the apartheid government. This month South Africa celebrates Youth Day, commemorating the June 16 Youth Uprising in Soweto, 1976. Hundreds of black learners protested against implementing Afrikaans as the sole educational medium as this was one of the oppressive measures the racist then-government was gearing up to put in place.
Ryanair's chief executive Micheal O'Leary announced at a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday that they had scrapped the test stating, "Our team issued a test in Afrikaans of 12 simple questions like what's the name of the mountain outside Pretoria? They have no difficulty completing that, but we didn't think it was appropriate either. So we have ended the Afrikaans test because [it] doesn't make any sense."
O'Leary responded to the South African Government's accusations as "rubbish," adding that "South Africa needs to fix its problems."