In the heydays, the 80s and 90s, life was pretty premeditated. One knew that news presenters would wax lyrical about the Late President Moi doing a banal thing such as taking a cup of tea and nduma. Chapattis were only eaten on Christmas Day, while Sim Cards were for the blue-blooded (0722 prefix people feel much tagged).
The “Kenyan dream” manifested itself to many. It followed a coarse course of passing primary school whilst barefoot after covering many kilometres, making it to a respectable high school, grappling with kerosene laced and weevil infested githeri (read Succotash) amidst incessant bullying.
Then attain a university grade, go to “The” University of Nairobi, outlast the numbers of years a child spends in kindergarten, and eventually pompously graduate after inviting your whole village to witness a scrawny you in an oversized gown.
Weeks later, armed with a mellow soul, buy Safari Boots that would withstand the genteel terrain as you walk the talk to a white collar job. You then settle for a job as long as it’s in an office setting. Soon afterward, identify a ‘flower’ from a homestead and pluck it. The rest of it would involve looking for children’s names in the Bible while allowing history to repeat itself.
There was generally a conforming to set stipulations and adulthood operated within a vacuum. I could go on speculating on how life might have been in those days long gone, but I am only but a Gen Z with a few wisps of beard and a Tinder soulmate yearning. But what does adulthood really mean for us, the generation which is purportedly tech-savvy, with a petty contrivance for a ‘soft life’ characterised by no work and unhinged ambitions? Before casting a stone at us for watching TikTok reels while at work and our laziness rounded off to the nearest stalled government project, what really makes us thee expendables assume such forms?
Our predecessors, the Millennials, are busy answering clarion calls entangled in rat races while Generation X are promoting dye businesses in an effort to look young. Amidst all this hustle and bustle, Generation Z are in a back left position leading sporadic lives, meandering through a labyrinth of uncertainty.
No one really prepared us for adulthood. It was inevitable like meeting your crush on the day you’re dressed like a homeless chap. Unlike the days of free milk, we didn’t get a disclaimer that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than to own the rights of having an ID.
The world moved like a treadmill underneath our feet. One moment, we were christened Kamwana, a second later, we were Mwana Mpotevu after failing to pay house rent. You can imagine the perplexity that comes from filling up choice answers one day and the next getting bombarded by KRA emails to file returns.
The root of all this, however, can be attributed to the covetous mistress, Adulthood, whom we try to place a finger on. This is even as times are changing as fast as the Nairobi dating scene. We would, however, remain unbowed and unbent like loud reggae music playing in nganyas until society instils the essence of owning up its actions right from infancy.