Youth delegates are free - NYDA

2010-12-15 22:25

Pretoria - Participants at the 17th World Youth Festival in Pretoria are not prisoners and cannot be restricted from doing certain things, including playing kissing games, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) chair Andile Lungisa said on Wednesday.

“They are playing during lunch. They are not prisoners... this is not a prisoners festival but a youth festival. They will continue kissing each other.

"They've even just made up a new dance which they were teaching the foreign delegation,” Lungisa said when asked if such extramural activities would not detract them and make them lose what they were to obtain at "the festival of ideas".

“Notes are taken during seminars, nothing will be lost. These notes will be part of final resolutions and festival.”

The first day of the festival was marred by delays, with thousands of delegates milling around outside, some resorting to playing kissing games.

Lungisa said teething problems involving the late arrival of buses and the shortage of food, and the water situation which forced many living in Soshanguve’s Tshwane University of Technology to bath with cold water were now addressed.

“There is now hot water. Now at least they can mix with the cold water,” he said.

New catering company

Delegates complained that were going hungry as they were not given food. Some were turned away because they did not have small green food vouchers.

Lungisa said there was a new catering company, which had set up four working stations around the Tshwane Events Centre, also known as the Pretoria Show Grounds.

This would help ease the long queues and all issues around food.

“As we move forward, we are getting better.”

He light-heartedly dismissed the fact that a group of youths forced their way into the media room on Tuesday night as an "act against imperialism".

The youths demanded that he address their grievances but left without seeing him.

“People are running all over wanting to defeat imperialism now.”

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