Anger simmers in S. Africa over scrapping youth forum

Anger simmers in southern Africa over President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to cancel a campaign that aimed to promote the country to youth by embracing Africa’s newest countries. Ramaphosa took the political heat during a…

Anger simmers in S. Africa over scrapping youth forum

Anger simmers in southern Africa over President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to cancel a campaign that aimed to promote the country to youth by embracing Africa’s newest countries.

Ramaphosa took the political heat during a forum in London Monday, the Morning Star reported.

The launch of the “Young Africa” youth fund was slated for May 28 at the London School of Economics, and was planned to “give voice to young people to find ways to develop Africa’s economies,” according to a briefing. Ramaphosa was set to appear as part of the panel discussion.

“Some of us believe in democracy and a free press and all the things that we have seen, and then we’re told that because of one man’s opinion we cannot even have a debate,” former South African President Thabo Mbeki said.

Ramaphosa traveled with a military escort to neighboring Zimbabwe for the anniversary of independence from Britain, prompting the British media to publish their criticism of him.

“Mr. Ramaphosa’s jarring visit to Zimbabwe reflects rather poorly on him – and South Africa,” the BBC wrote.

There was even a photograph of Ramaphosa, who is seen wearing the Soweto Youth Choir’s red sweatshirt, kneeling before former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, to shake his hand, the Zimbabwe Herald reported.

Ramaphosa, meanwhile, later rebuked the dismissal of the forum plan, the Daily Mail reported.

“The idea that we shouldn’t be challenging foreign policy, is absolutely far-fetched,” he said.

The event was canceled to avoid “any potential conflicts that could distract the South African authorities from their mandate, as it is evident that the event has generated a huge amount of interest from the private sector, civil society and youth groups.”

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