The youth that had put their lives on the line for a united country, will be remembered through a special Youth Day programme at the FIFA Fan Fest™ in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
“Without those youths making sacrifices, South Africa, and therefore our beautiful city, wouldn’t have been able to host the World Cup,” Nelson Mandela Bay’s executive mayor Zanoxolo Wayile said at a media briefing at St George’s Park on Monday.
Wayile said history showed that the youth had been at the cutting edge of the struggle to shape a society where education should be free and where people were not judged on their gender or colour. “That’s why it’s important to come out in our masses to pay tribute to them on the biggest stage of all.”
He therefore called on locals to embrace the World Cup and platforms like the Fan Fest in a united fashion, especially on this historic day.
“The World Cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We must support it with a spirit of ubuntu.”
Wayile said it was important to remember that we were not only ambassadors of this continent, but also of the city, and that it was important to present a united front.
The day’s entertainment programme has been designed to showcase the region’s youth.
“At midday we will have the Zama Choir and their dancers and in the evening slot we are featuring Nelson Mandela Bay’s two top youth acts, the Afro Teens and the River Road Band,” said Fan Fest deputy director David Limbert.
The 35-member choir is an initiative of the non-profit Oliver Foundation’s after-school programme. Project coordinator Gail Hawes said the Fan Fest offered the perfect opportunity to represent the local youth on an international platform.
“This inspires our members to achieve great things and Youth Day is obviously a celebration of our youth and of what is possible.”
Hawes said the one-hour show featured Xhosa dancing and songs as well as choral music. “They really have a fabulous beat.”
The River Road Band’s four members – all aged between 13 and 15 – churn out a sound that can be described as a mixture of pop-rock and soft-rock. One of their songs, “Falling”, has made it onto the playlists of local radio stations.
With an average age of 16, the Afro Teens have distinguished themselves in the genres of jazz and Afro-pop. They have performed at more than 80 venues over the past four years.
Three matches will be screened on Wednesday: Honduras versus Chile (1.30pm), Spain against Switzerland (4pm) and South Africa and Uruguay (8.30pm).
Official figures show a solid opening weekend for the Fan Fest. Just under 50 000 fans passed through the gates between Thursday evening – when the Kick-off Celebration Concert in Soweto was screened – and Sunday afternoon.
The Fan Fest is open on match days from 11am to midnight and entrance is free.
CAPTION: Nelson Mandela Bay’s executive mayor, Zanoxolo Wayile, called on locals to support Wednesday’s Youth Day programme at the Fan Fest in Port Elizabeth. Photo: Full Stop Communications
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
FIFA Fan Fest™