Dorcas Kaseka was among those who signed a canvas near the Company’s Garden with messages to celebrate youth month.Picture: BHEKI RADEBE
ON THURSDAY afternoon at the foot of the Company’s Garden, a large, blank canvas was erected, much to the confusion of passersby.

It wasn’t until later in the day they began to understand why it was there.

When the paint jars arrived, Social Development MEC Albert Fritz was the first to make a stroke on the canvas, steadily painting three words: “Youth * can!” before inviting those present to follow.

Within minutes, the plain white canvas came alive with colour.

After christening the canvas, Fritz divulged that it was an idea for young people, by young people.

“I wrote what I did because I believe that the youth of today can really do whatever they want, and a lot of them are great people,” said Fritz.

“It voices us,” said Laurnelle Dolan, 23, of Africa Unite, who said that the project was aimed at providing young people with a platform to share their concerns with the government and help address the social ills plaguing South Africa.

“We believe in unity and fighting for human rights,” said Dolan.

Several passersby made their own contributions to the artwork.

Jaden Ontong, 14, was on his way from school when the bright colours attracted him.

Another bystander who wished to remain anonymous, said: “There’s a vibrant energy here. This is a great platform to say whatever you want to say.”

By the end of the day, dozens of people had left their colourful marks on the canvas, covering it in handprints and inspirational quotes.

Others provided criticism of social issues, and signatures.

Department of Social Development spokesperson Sihle Ngobese said the canvas will be popping up in other places during the month.

“We will listen to the voice of young people,” Fritz said.