Day three of youth festival off to a slow start

Day three of the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students got off to a slow start on Wednesday with delegates still arriving at the Tshwane Events Centre by mid-morning.

Volunteers said delegates were being ferried in from various places of accommodation.

Inside the venue some delegates sat waiting for seminars to begin. Organisers said the talks would start as soon as the sound system was up and running. Technicians were seen setting up their equipment.

A few delegates sang a revolutionary song dedicated to slain struggle hero Solomon Mahlangu—which also reportedly became the unofficial anthem at the African National Congress’s (ANC) national general council in September.

Former police commissioner Jackie Selebi was walking around the grounds in a caramel-coloured jacket.

“I will be attending one of the sessions, but I’m not sure which one,” he said.

The wet weather and constant drizzle sent many delegates indoors—some waited inside a hall where a seminar on foreign military bases was set to begin.

According to Wednesday’s programme—which organisers had cautioned was preliminary and subject to change—Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was expected to speak about “public, free and universal access to education, science, culture and information”.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize was scheduled to talk about the “role of young people in the struggle against illiteracy”.

Communications Minister Roy Padayachie’s talk would be about “manipulation of media and information by imperialism”.

One of the delegates, Sam Maholo from Namibia, said he had come to gain “political, social and education knowledge”.

He said he hadn’t attended any of the sessions yet because he didn’t know where to go.
A South African Press Association journalist had to tell him where to get a programme.

He said his experience of the event had been “up and down”, but was getting better. He complained about getting food and a lack of communication about the event.

Maholo said he and a group of other people from Namibia had refused to come to the showgrounds earlier in the week because their grievances weren’t being addressed.—Sapa

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