Forest Whitaker applauded the youth of the Cape Flats, who participated in a change maker's initiative he created which is the seventeenth in the world. Picture: Armand Hough /African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Hollywood actor and social activist, Forest Whitaker on Thursday applauded the youth of the Cape Flats, who participated in a change maker's initiative he created which is the seventeenth in the world. 

The founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI), who was speaking at a press conference at the WPDI Community Centre said the aim of the programme was to create a space where youth could learn, gather and provide room for aspiring entrepreneurs over the next six years.

"Creating a programme here in the Cape Flats is very beautiful to me. It's exciting to witness their (youth) commitment. 

"We've become aware of the violence that affects the community but we also look towards bringing solutions that can be helpful in the long term. That is our goal," Whitaker said.

He also said the programme was responsive to what was happening in the community and they had listened to the youth, who in most cases, wanted to make a difference and to serve the community.

"We live in a time where half of the world's population is under 30 and they live in areas of conflict. People from the Cape Flats are often perceived as perpetrators or victims of violence. Young people anywhere and everywhere can be mobilised to be peace builders," he said.

The centre aims to train potential entrepreneurs, teachers and leaders in the area. 

Whitaker concluded by saying that he was impressed and inspired by the youth throughout the week. 

"You have a spirit, power and motivation and that makes me hopeful. You have the capacity. 

"There are going to be challenges and difficulties but I have no doubt that you have the capacity to make change and bring your community a sense of hope and a reason to aspire to do something more." 

African News Agency (ANA)