July 2, 2022

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Ryanair criticized as racist for examining South Africa in Afrikaans

Ryanair criticized as racist for examining South Africa in Afrikaans

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Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, is facing accusations of racism for requiring South African customers to prove their citizenship by taking a test written in Afrikaans, a Dutch derivative developed by European colonizers.

Officials at the Dublin-based airline say they are using the test to avoid taking passengers to the UK with false passports. But some South Africans have criticized the policy as racist, saying that the nation officially recognizes 11 languages ​​and that many in the country do not speak Afrikaans. High Commission of the United Kingdom in South Africa chirp Friday that the test “is not a requirement of the UK government.”

The testing policy caused outrage among travelers after reports circulated online. Linguistic authorities in South Africa also have denounce referendum.

Ryanair says Afrikaans testing helps the company protect itself from transporting people using fake passports. The airline does not operate flights to South Africa. The policy applies to South African nationals traveling within Europe.

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“The South African government has already warned passengers (and airlines) about the risks of unions selling fake South African passports, which has led to a significant increase in cases of South African passport use,” the South African low-cost airline said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. forged to enter the UK. . “In order to reduce the risk of using a fake passport, Ryanair requires passengers with a South African passport to fill out a simple questionnaire in Afrikaans.”

If passengers cannot complete it, they will not be allowed to travel and their money will be refunded, the statement said.

Ryanair said airlines that allow passengers to fly on fraudulent visas are subject to a fine of about $2,500 per offender. “This is why Ryanair has to ensure that all passengers (particularly South Africans) travel with a valid SA passport/visa as required by UK immigration,” the statement said.

Andres W. Coetzee, professor of linguistics and director of the Center for African Studies at the University of Michigan, said Afrikaans have strong ties to South Africa’s colonial history and apartheid. white institutional supremacy.

The majority of South Africans don’t speak Afrikaans, Coetzee said, “so it doesn’t make sense at all to use that as a measure of whether or not you’re South African.” 2011 census data Posted by Statistics South Africa, 13.5 percent of the population said Afrikaans was their first language, trailing Izulu (22.7 percent) and Essexusa (16 percent) in that year’s data.

Coetzee said that in 1925, the South African government made Afrikaans an official language, and it became largely the language of politics, a status that was reinforced after apartheid became the country’s “official political system” in 1948. The language was once in demand in schools, As he said, the majority of students learning the language now are those who speak it at home or those of European descent who speak English at home.

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“If you are a black South African citizen of adulthood and you go to school after 1994, you probably don’t know Afrikaans because you don’t have to know Afrikaans,” Coetzee said. He described Ryanair’s policy as “colonial, discriminatory and unjustified.”

Coetzee noted that there are two ethno-social types of Afrikaans and that about half of the Afrikaans-speaking population is non-white.

“It would be inaccurate to say that only white people speak the language,” he said.But What would be accurate is to say that 80 percent of the population does not speak Afrikaans, and 80 percent of all are not white.”

“I think there is language politics here, and these language politics are insensitive to what lies behind, which is the politics of race,” said Ann-Maria Makholo, associate professor of cultural anthropology and African American and African studies at Duke University.

Makholo added the fact that the Zulu Speak more widely In the country it also highlights the repercussions of testing. “There is an underlying assumption about what represents the authenticity of South Africa,” she said.