There is a looming generational change and it will not be defined by the rules that the Uhuru generation demands that the millennials live by. Generation Uhuru has a choice: either to give up the reins of power in the same way they themselves demanded and got them, progressively and for each other, or they can watch the world they built burn.
The millennial bashing script often reads like capitalism’s disappointment that we did not turn into the reckless consumer cluster that they anticipated we will be when they branded us in 1991. The millennial narrative-for the most part-ignores the existential pain of being young in a flailing society, and the attendant youthful anxiety, grief, struggle and fears while amplifying the trivial and dehumanizing aspects of generational clustering such as tastes, habits and preferences. A round-table talk between Darius Okolla, Kingwa Kamencu and Joe Kobuthi.
I cannot count the number of times I was caned for speaking up against my father, or for behaving in a way that my father thought was “ungodly”, or even speaking in Sheng, which he loathed and viewed as a language spoken by young people who had no sense of direction.
We are still trying to understand who we are and how our society got here, and in doing so we reject the mantra of ‘accept and move on’ or ‘don’t rock the boat’ like many of our parents embodied. There will be a culture clash, but maybe it is necessary, so we can redefine ourselves, redefine family, and redefine Kenya.
“Jamaa, si hukubali vitu nyingi sana sababu yaani society inatuforce tukubali.” – Nonini Once, not long ago, I was sitting on a bench in Central Park. It was the end of Ramadan and there was a certain feeling in the air; The weather was crisp, the grass was green, and the ice cream sellers were […]
Progressive millennials should avoid the nationalistic approaches of their elders and focus their energies on undoing the exploitative colonial state rather than improving the poor quality of its political leadership. By MWONGELA KAMENCU
There’s something uncomfortable about looking at pictures of your parents at a time when they made each other happy. – Aminatta Forna Our parents are an example of two things: What marriage should be like; What marriage should not be like. I met the husband I never married when I was sixteen. He became the biological […]
Falling fertility and mortality rates have put Kenya in line to reap the same demographic dividend that powered the rise of the Asian Tigers – but only if it gets its social and economic policies right. By PAUL GOLDSMITH
If a doctor were to diagnose millennial marriages, he would find them diseased, plagued by forces of nature beyond their control. These three anecdotes illustrate the three biggest challenges that millennials are grappling with in marriage. In December 2014, I accompanied a friend to Embu, in Eastern Kenya for a ruracio (A traditional Agikuyu and […]
The pent-up frustrations over the failures of previous generations, as expressed in the Elephant’s Millennial Edition, may signal the emergence of a new, urban counter-cultural movement. But can the new Kenyan riika do better than their elders? By USAMA GOLDSMITH
The problem with becoming a man is that no one really teaches you how to live it out, partly because everyone will do masculinity in their own unique ways. But most importantly masculinity is really about the humanity of men and like all personhood, it carries in it the glories of personal questions, angsts, fears, and […]
Before I gave birth to my daughter I was probably what the embattled boy-child would today call a ‘toxic feminist’. My place was not in the kitchen, nor was it in a labour ward. I considered myself the stereotypical, ‘strong black woman’, never giving a thought to the origin of the term, the baggage that […]
The Scopes of our Identities: Perhaps the real reason why they often irk the rest of society is that the youth are often a clear mirror of who we really are. Simply by their being, they accurately tell those who care to listen what we truly believe about our nationalities, age, gender, religion and ethnicity. They are also clear indicators of the truth of our politics and perceptions of corruption and integrity, concludes the May 2016 ‘The East Africa Youth Survey Report’ by ALEX O. AWITI, of Aga Khan University’.
The planet is getting smarter. Inanimate objects from phones to houses are becoming intelligent. The vehicle of the information technology revolution has been hardware but information is the real prize. Advances in processing power facilitate the reorganisation of the data around us with previously unimaginable results. The amount of data we generate is increasing exponentially. […]
We are all born into the world of humanity at an ordained moment in time and space with a spiritual ordained mission yet we are the creators of our destiny. The world I came to was full of turmoil. My parents and their parents had been uprooted from their own homes to go serve settlers […]
Won’t You Help To Sing? The young man grabbed the microphone with relish and held onto it so hard, I thought he would break it. Then he said, “Ukikatia dem na umefanya every effort ka gentleman, alafu akatae, and you are in a senior position let’s say at work or even you are stronger than […]
Ask any child of the 80s what, “Polisi wa kae kama raia” means or why August is called the “ Black month” and the question evokes a chain of memories buried deep in our psyches. The children of the 80s try to forget but we remember. I started my remembering again after I took my […]
For the last few months, students at the university where I teach have been pitted in a standoff against we the faculty and administration. From the drama so far, my greatest impression has been that I do not recognize my generation. I do not recognize us because we knew there was a problem long before. […]
The true measure of a man is not defined by the invincible cloak we wrap around our public personas but by how we continually respond to the challenges of life.
My dad was born in 1946. His dad, my grandfather, was born in 1918. Both of them were born at the tail end of wars that everyone thought would be the wars to end all wars. Many things happened between those two births. Kenya officially became a colony, the Great Depression ruined the global economy, […]
Reading recent submissions to The Elephant by Millennials, one gets the impression that there is a generational battle going on in Kenya. It is portrayed as the Millennials beating back their elders who, having sold out first to the Colonialists and then to kleptocracy, now persist in accusing this generation of narcissism for rejecting colonial […]
A stuck story is like a baby who does not want to be born; keeping you in a long painful state of labour. Now I understand what Maya Angelou meant when she said, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ This is all I have. My words, my stories. I […]
Millennials have been blamed for pretty much everything that is going on wrong in the world today. Marriage is failing, thanks to hook-up culture and Tinder’s “I’ll get with anything I swiped right on.” The real estate market is falling because millennials would rather spend all their money on avocado toast than take up mortgages […]
Allow me the joy of teaching you a new word today. The word is ‘duru’. Most of my millennial peers, where I come from, have an extensive grasp of what it means. It is simply the art of approaching a stranger, after careful analysis, wearing a sunken face then stretching your hand to them the […]
“We must begin to tell our young There’s a world waiting for you This is a quest that’s just begun” ~ Nina Simone, Young, Gifted and Black By the age of nineteen, I had worked three jobs: the first, as a “fetch boy” in a cramped room at CMC Motors in Kisumu where all I […]
Generational conflict is perennial. Everywhere, young people shoulder the blame of everything wrong with the world. In recent years, the world has been moaning over the millennial generation what Kenyans have dubbed the ‘xaxaxema’ generation. This is in reference to the swagariffic (a millennial ‘thing’) spelling that they have adapted for use on text messaging […]
Staring at the world through my rearview Just looking back at the world from another level Ya know what I mean? Starin’ ~ Tupac Shakur I was born on the fourth of July in 1989; the same day America celebrated its two hundred and thirteenth year of independence from the British and arguably one of […]
On June 8, 2015, I stood in a labour ward waiting for our bundle of joy. When she arrived, shortly after 10.30 a.m., I was beside myself with joy, totally overwhelmed. Those of a religious disposition know the kind of emotions one goes through when God answers prayers. For the longest time, I prayed to […]
I was born in March of 1989, just two years before the term millennial was coined by William Strauss and Neil Howe in 1991, three years before Bill Clinton, the neoliberal icon, took over the most powerful presidency on earth and right on the throes of agitation for a multiparty democracy in Kenya. I was shipped […]