A spokesman for Ryanair added: “We require passengers travelling to the UK to fill out a simple questionnaire issued in Afrikaans. If they are unable to complete this questionnaire, they will be refused travel and issued with a full refund.”

If they’re flying on a South African passport that is.

Afrikaan is spoken by about 13pc of South Africa’s population, alongside the country’s 11 other official languages.

Not, actually, a very good test.

Actually, OK so what are the first two? English and Zulu? Anyone know?

24 thoughts on “Hmm”

  1. Most people in SA speak English aand or afrikaans. I suspect the 13% is the number who describe it as their first or home language

  2. Luckily I once had my cousin with me when I got lost in Bloemfontein. If you asked directions you just assumed they were Afrikaners if white and got it 100% right every time. Joburg and Capetown not so at all.

  3. The Economist via Wikipedia:

    The most common language spoken as a first language by South Africans is Zulu (23 percent), followed by Xhosa (16 percent), and Afrikaans (14 percent). English is the fourth most common first language in the country (9.6%), but is understood in most urban areas and is the dominant language in government and the media

  4. Be interesting if they did the equivalent to UK passport holders. Although I expect there’s a considerable number would prefer they reserve that for users of return halves of tickets.

  5. ‘Not, actually, a very good test.’

    That rather depends whether you want to allow people on your planes who speak Afrikaans or Zulu.

  6. Problem: current SA education is in mother tongue and a second indigenous language, so avoiding learning Afrikaans is possible.
    People don’t understand that social and linguistic apartheid between English mother tongue and Afrikaans mother tongue was rigid so that very little Afrikaans was learned even when it was compulsory . I only bothered to learn after I left school and moved to the Cape where my patients spoke a dialect of Afrikaans very different from official Afrikaans but more graphic.
    The “general “ knowledge question about capital city: which capital? Parliamentary? Administrative? Judicial? Old name or new indigenous name?

  7. Rather like giving a Canadian a test in French to prove their nationality. While a lot of Anglos would pass, plenty wouldn’t.

  8. Rather like giving a Canadian a test in French…
    So, like the federal civil service, then?

  9. “Old name or new indigenous name?” If there were no cities before the overseas colonists came how can a city have an indigenous name?

    What’s the indigenous name of Colchester/Camulodunum?

  10. Ljh: “where my patients spoke a dialect of Afrikaans very different from official Afrikaans but more graphic.”

    Ah.. closer to proper dutch then… 😉

  11. @grikath,

    No-one would describe Afrikaans as spoken by the Cape Coloured community as close to Dutch.

  12. Gunker… Any dutch spoken by …Coloured Dutch Communities… even in Clogland is not remotely close to dutch..

    It’s more that it’s fun to see that the same root language has undergone the same transformation over the centuries, despite vastly different influences: Far more blunt and expletive.. 😉

  13. Anyhoo… the whole ruckus about the test is to mask the Real Problem…

    Apparently the fake passport trade in SA has become …professional… enough to necessitate language tests to “prove” actual and not claimed nationality.
    But that may just be me being my usual cynical self…

  14. @Interested

    It’s a strategy to reduce undesirable passengers. Maybe a lot have been refused entry to UK and it’s then Ryanair’s responsibility to remove them

  15. Dearieme: latest on the renamed is Gqerhba ie Port Elizabeth, actually within Xhosa range in colonial times. “Q” being a high palatal click. Just trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?

  16. Back in the 80s I had a very pleasant holiday in S Africa, part of which was in the company of a Belgian (Flemish) couple. They were delighted to be in a foreign country where (almost) their version of Dutch was spoken.

  17. @ dearieme
    That is what the descendants of the pre-Roman inhabitants of Essex call it.
    [Since there wasn’t a pre-Roman city, we don’t have to worry about any speculations about pre-Roman names.]

  18. If a transport company lands someone in the UK who does not have the right to enter the UK then the transport company is liable for fines up to £2,000 (I think that’s the right number).

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