Cockroaches: 1 Imperialism: 0

2010-12-19 10:13

Imperialism was supposed to be the main enemy, but some delegates at the 17th World Youth Festival found themselves squaring up to cockroaches and bed bugs.

“This is disgusting; our accommodation is infested with cockroaches. People are even refusing to sleep,” complained one ­Johannesburg delegate booked into a ­students’ residence at Tshwane University of Technology.

She developed a rash after being bitten by bed bugs a couple of times.

“Forget about fighting imperialism; the plight of this youth is dire.

Hunger, lack of sleep, cockroach infestation and God knows what else,” she said.

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) scrambled this week to defend spending R69 million on an event characterised by bad organisation, delegates playing kissing games instead of attending lectures and the absence of VIP speakers.

On Friday a “flag fight” broke out between delegates from Morocco and Western Sahara.

Hassan Thoury, a Moroccan living in South Africa, stormed into the Western Sahara exhibition and shouted: “Viva Morocco!” Two Western Sahara delegates then attacked him with flags. They pushed a flag stick into his ear and beat him, he alleged.

Angry delegates left scathing messages on NYDA chair Andile Lungisa’s Facebook wall.

Some posts read: “Disgusting and embarrassing for lack of words to describe the World Youth Festival ... you guys are taking SA youth for fools and it’s going to backfire in your faces” and: “The standard we are living in is not good and cannot be accepted. The quality and standard of food is not hygienic.

How do you expect us to live in this conditions (sic)?”

Lungisa blocked people from his wall ­after being bombarded with such messages.

He said they had booked enough accommodation but could not be held responsible for the cockroaches in some rooms.

“We are not facility managers.

This has been an eye-opener for us that students are not living in good conditions.

As from next year we are going to make sure university residences are of quality standard,” he said.


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