The 17th World Youth Festival is progressing well, the president of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) said on Saturday.
“We are happy with the progress of the festival and we have seen delegates focusing on the topics that are outlined on the programme,” WFDY president, Tiago Vieira, said in a statement.
He also said delegates were getting serious about the issues that they were talking about.
“If you sit and listen to deliberations in the seminars you get a feeling that delegates understand that they have come for serious issues that affect the lives of the youth around the world.”
Viera said there was an increasing number of delegates attending workshops and the quality of discussions were improving.
He said most recently discussions had focused on the continent of Asia.
“This festival affords not only countries from that region the opportunity to share knowledge, but also an opportunity to engage with and learn from their counterparts from all over the world.”
The festival — which apparently hosts 15 000 youth from over 130 countries at the Tshwane Events Centre — is due to continue until Tuesday, December 21.
Since it began on Monday, it has been at the centre of widespread controversy.
There was criticism of the festival’s budget — which was initially R400-million — but was later cut to R69-million; with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) calling for an audit into how this money was used.
The festival’s management was also criticised when several speakers, including several government ministers, did not arrive. Buses carrying delegates arrived late and there was also a shortage of food.
According to some media reports, delegates even played “kissing games” while waiting for seminars to begin.
The conference is being held under the theme, “Let’s defeat imperialism for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation”. — Sapa