By Kabelo Mollo
If any one thing is going to drive us in to early graves, it’s Generation Z or “Ma2000″ as they have become affectionately known. A complete and utter law unto themselves. An echo chamber that reverberates up and down the continents spine.
The group with the short attention span making Tik Tok blow up. Those who’s hip hop icons don’t use actual words, just suggestions of them. The Amapiano pioneering gang with never ending dance trends. Those with their pronouns emblazoned across their social media pages as well as access to all the information in the world right at their fingertips.
The other day I was sat at my favourite coffee shop, the seat of much discourse in this city, Ouh La La and the nearly geriatric patrons I was with were bemoaning the fact that our phones are actually no longer phones.
They have become hand held devices, but a phone is merely one of its applications, for many like myself it isn’t even the main application. In fact, if you look at my application usage report which I get every Sunday, the phone app is amongst the least used. Along with my bank and calculator app. A clear reminder that I need to work on improving my financial status! Anyhow, it was amusing to me that we were lamenting the idea that it’s become a little more difficult to use one’s telephone. The default setting no longer goes directly to phone, other things supersede it. I was sure that’s exactly how Generation Z want it.
Generation Z have their own thing happening! They’re on Tik Tok and Snapchat. They’re curating their life experiencing according to their own desires and values. Our hybrid Boomer and Millennial vibes are as distant as they are “toxic”. That’s what we’ve been relegated to, toxic aunts and uncles who have done more harm than good.
We are out of touch and won’t get it. I noticed recently when casually debating matters with my nieces born in ’03 & ’07 they’re natural inclination when making a point is to say “I feel like…” as in “I feel like you don’t really understand point x and y uncle Kabelo”. I recognise that it’s a form of speech but it’s also indicative of who they are. They are the feeling generation.
As I’ve said before the generations before them were defined in spite of their feelings while this generation is defined by those very feelings.
Sometimes I go on social media and get completely ensconced in threads about things ma2000 said or did and I’m completely astonished and tickled pink by this lot! One is alleged to have stayed out all weekend because he didn’t want to have to request permission to leave the house multiple times. Another was being yelled at by an irate mother and calmly reminded said mother that she was very nearby and didn’t need the noise in order to hear the message being passed. Another still informed the parents they did not appreciate the way they were blowing through his inheritance insisting that he should in future be included in all affairs related to family finances!
It is like this of course with all generations; my siblings who are all much older than me claim my parents were much softer when raising me and that I can roughshod over them. It isn’t true. My mother was super strict and my dad was always in support of the boss’s decisions. I took no quarter and certainly non was given! What I will concede though is that they made life easier. All three older siblings made life that much easier growing up, providing various different lifestyle opportunities and platforms they might not have had being similar in age.
Those same siblings are now parents to the aforementioned ma2000 and experiencing the uphill battle of raising a human from a completely different generation. Maybe they understand now what it was like for my parents raising a laat lammetjie who upset the Apple cart a little. I say this in jest of course!
This generation Z with their smarts and access to information must be heard. They have solutions, but they too must learn to listen because in some cases, they are the problem to the solution they have…