Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to give an address at the event at noon.
In the streets outside the stadium children were wearing white youth day T-shirts and carrying food parcels collected at the gates.
Inside the stadium a band was entertaining a small crowd.
Government departments’ marketing stands were erected inside the stadium, while television trucks lined one side of the stadium ground.
Monday marks South Africa’s 38th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprisings. On 16 June 1976, a group of school children set off from Morris Isaacson High School in Orlando, Soweto, to protest over Afrikaans being the medium of instruction, among other grievances against the apartheid government.
There was a standoff with police, who opened fire on the children. The township was sealed off and attacks on government buildings followed; as well as the flight of many youths and political leaders into exile. This day is now commemorated as youth day.