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Ryanair faced claims of racial discrimination after telling South African customers to take a test in Afrikaans to prove their nationality.
A number of South African passengers complained over the weekend that the airline made them do a general knowledge test in Afrikaans, which was enforced during apartheid and is only the third most spoken language in the country.
Ryanair said the move was "due to the high prevalence of fraudulent South African passports".
Afrikaan is spoken by about 13pc of South Africa's population, alongside the country's 11 other official languages.
Dinesh Joseph, who speaks English, told the Metro newspaper that the test felt like "profiling and discrimination" after he was asked to complete it to get back to London from his holiday in Lanzarote last month. He said he was told "this is your language" when he asked for a form in English.
Nomfundo Dlamini, a South African in the UK who was also asked to do the test, told the Financial Times that Ryanair's policy was "apartheid 2.0...further opression, further discrimination."
The UK High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa has stated on Twitter that the general knowledge tests are not a UK government requirement.
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.”