Proud Young Stars dancers performed at the Langa Cultural Precinct during Youth Day celebrations on Thursday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Hundreds of young people from Langa and surrounding areas gathered at Guga S'thebe cultural centre on Thursday, to celebrate Youth Day which is on Sunday.

They were treated to a display of traditional dances and music, struggle-themed theatre plays and arts and crafts from different schools and youth clubs.

The celebrations also featured a social discussion forum, with mayor Dan Plato and mayco member for community services Zahid Badroodien, engaging the youth about their challenges and possible solutions to them.

Plato expressed concerns over the lack of education for the youngsters, the crime and violence in schools and communities.

“There is an awful lot happening on the youth front in South Africa and is beginning to stick out its head in the province and we, as a collective, must nip that in the bud,” Plato said

He said the youth were the bloodline of the city, however, still faced many socio-economic issues that hampered development and kept them in a vulnerable group in society.

“The city, along with other spheres of the government, has a number of programmes in place to advance youth development and help overcome the challenges such as unemployment, crime and substance abuse.

“But young people need to be a part of a process, otherwise, we will not make meaningful gains,” said Plato

Badroodien said Youth Month threw a spotlight on the many challenges that existed.

“However, it is also a celebration of youth excellence because there are many young people out there who are making a difference, whether on their own steam or with the help of the many youth-focused initiatives in both the public and private sector,” she said.

Malcom Morgan, Guga S’thebe arts and culture programme manager, said they were thrilled to host the youth celebrations.

“This event is an extension of daily activities at this cultural hub and these celebrations cemented our position as an arts and culture centre.

“The 1976 youth used different means and avenues to fight the apartheid government, and arts and culture was one of them.

“We therefore shine a light on arts and culture as a means of development of our youngsters,” he said.

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