Coming to terms with generation Z: The new Millennial, aka the 'New African', as our 28-year-old columnist finds out, is almost a different species of human being.

Author:Odinga, Winnie
Position:THE NEW AGE - Column
 
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In my mother's study rests an ageing DVD player and a geriatric VCR machine. The two machines have both been long retrenched from active use and I stopped noticing their existence ages back--that is, until a few days ago when one of my greatest fears came to fruition: I realised that at 28 years old, I am no longer the 'younger' generation.

"Auntie Kazi," my nephew asks me, "what's this?"

"It's a video cassette player," I retort quite obviously.

"What does it do?"

The next few minutes are spent with me explaining what a VHS tape is, why it was necessary, why we didn't just watch things on the phone back in the day, what a landline is, followed up by a 30-minute session of me failing to get my dusty copy of The Sound of Music to play.

It's interesting for me, a supposedly 'young African', to take notice of the changes in the generation immediately following me, sometimes ironically called, 'the New African'.

Who exactly are the New Africans? They are, one supposes, 'Millennials'--a mix of Generations Y and Z. First, let's clear up some terms. According to the Urban Dictionary (the new generation's Websters dictionary that offers definitions to words as well as slang terms and colloquial phrases), 'A Millennial is an identity given to both Generation Y and Generation Z with the primary difference between the two being technology. While Gen Y grew up on personal computers and video games, Gen Z is growing up with tablets, smartphones and apps.'

Although this definition may make the two groups seem similar, the characteristics of socialisation are starkly different. For example, I am generation Y/Z, my siblings and I, as well as our parents used to share one television. I think you may remember that there used be a designated room in the house where the TV was stationed called the TV room.

How many screens do you have in your home today? By the time I was born in 1990, Kenya had two television channels. When we would come home from school, I would get cartoons for 30 mins before my older siblings would boot me out to watch hit music videos. Watching them croon over the newest Hip Hop and R&B stars certainly influenced my musical preferences today.

At 7pm on the dot, the news would begin. You were not allowed to speak during the news; making sudden movements and breathing too loudly was considered criminal and so was leaving the room. This was a family activity. We shared all forms of technology, the VCR, the landline, the newspaper, the...

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