The Festival is organised every four years by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), which has been in existence for 65 years, with the objective of uniting the youth of the world for peace, solidarity and social transformation.
This year’s theme is ‘Lets defeat imperialism for a world of peace, solidarity and transformation’. The festival will take place at the MTN Expo Centre (Nasrec) and the opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the Orlando Stadium.
South Africa has been an active member of WFDY, having participated with 50 delegates at the 2005 conference in Venezuela and participating in the organisation’s international networks and fora on an ongoing basis.
The festival has been endorsed and supported by President Jacob Zuma and Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane as well as various youth bodies in the country.
Speaking to BuaNews, Lungisa says the festival will be one of ideas, where young people from all walks of life will be able to share their thoughts and views on a variety of subjects.
“This will be a festival of ideas, where young people will be able to sit down and share their thoughts on a much bigger platform. It’ll be an opportunity for them to learn from one another and an opportunity for them to think globally.
“They will be able to work in unison so that they are able to confront the future as a force, so that when they take over in time, they (youth) will have a common agenda, a common thinking and common focus,” he says.
And with 30 000 youths from over 150 countries are expected to attend the festival, Lungisa expects it to be filled with lively and robust debates.
Issues such as universal education access, social transformation and democracy will be high on the agenda, he explains, adding that he hopes that delegates will leave the festival with a better understanding of the many issues faced by youth today. At the end of the conference, a declaration will be signed.
“This festival will benefit the youth because the declaration that will be signed will also find expression through the institutions of the United Nations.”
He explains that he expected all governments of all the participating countries to implement the declaration.
“We expect all governments, including our own government, to make sure that there is broader participation of the youth in all aspects of society. We need to make sure that the declaration is part of the United Nations programmes where countries will be encouraged and where there will be mechanisms that will ensure that the countries respond to the declaration.
“Over and above, it must be able to create an awareness about issues of fascism, issues of capitalism, issues of exploitation and issues of afro-phobia. Those are the issues that must have a strong movement, especially in South Africa. As long as we build anti-movements, we will be able to build the highest level of social consciousness.”
Many of the young people who will attend the gathering come from war-ravaged countries and for Lungisa, this will be an opportunity to promote solidarity.
“We want a world of peace,” he said. “We must use peaceful processes to solve conflicts. Lets build a world where all of us live side by side regardless of race or gender,” he adds.
Lungisa is keen on encouraging young people to be the architects of their own futures.
“Young people must define their own destiny and not be defined by others. They must know that they have the responsibility of confronting the future like the other generations that came before them.” - BuaNews