Dec 17, 2018In an effort to defeat the involvement of teenagers and youth in gang-related activities in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth, SAPS Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, local Community Policing Forums and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, came together and staged a ‘Festival of Hope’ music extravaganza on the Day of Reconciliation.The event was held at the Finns Street sports grounds in Bethelsdorp, Port Elizabeth, whereby various local artists showcased their musical talents.”The objective of this initiative is to change the mind-set of the youth while instilling hope for the future,” described police spokesperson, Col Priscilla Naidu.”The activities started with a motorcade procession from Cleary Park Shopping Centre through the streets of Bethelsdorp and ending at the sports field. Bikers led the huge procession with Lt Gen Ntshinga riding with one of them.”Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, welcomed everyone to the Festival of Hope.He explained that the purpose for the day is to encourage the youth that crime and gangsterism must stop now.”We are here with you – never lose hope. We can assure you that together we can stop crime here and this starts with you, the youth. We are creating hope for you because tomorrow belongs to you to follow your dreams,” added Bobani.Messages of support and encouragement were delivered by the President of the EP Cricket Club, Donovan May; the Mount Road SAPS Cluster Commander, Maj Gen Patekile; Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Police Chief, Yolanda Faro; Member of the Provincial Legislature, Mr Christian Martin and the Acting Cluster Board CPF Chairperson, Craig Hendricks.Festival of Hope meant to bring hope to the Northen AreasLt Gen Ntshinga, in her keynote address, thanked the community in the Northern areas for such a heart-warming welcome.”I am grateful and impressed with what I saw today- the beautiful and well organized motorcade, procession and music. There is no escape from facing the reality that our people are either dying or maimed for life because of the ongoing gang violence that has taken a toll in this place,” she said.”Let me make it categorically clear that we are not here today to cry and complain, instead we are here to bring a message of hope.”The Festival of Hope must be about demolishing the barriers our youth is facing and the restoration of hope to them. This is a very good initiative which both young and old must take advantage of, as a solid foundation towards making peace and forgiveness among yourselves.”The gathered crowd were treated to great entertainment including from celebrity actress ‘Bonita’ from the TV soapie, 7de Laan.Col Naidu said that programmes such as this will be continuous “as the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and by projecting a positive outlook no matter the circumstances, change is inevitable.”Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook.