Ex­press­ing free­dom in paint

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TYLER ROODT

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 u 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.

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