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Gen Z demands to be heard

June 23rd, 2024 3 min read

Last week we had a Centre Stage story on the Gen Z fashion of baggy trousers, jackets and crop tops. There was a key theme in these different statements that kept appearing throughout the story:

“They scream freedom, individuality, and a playful disregard for convention.”

“I’m here, I’m bold, and I won’t be confined.”

“This isn’t just a trend; it’s a movement. It’s the Gen Z girl’s way of claiming space, making noise, and turning heads.”

“They represented a break from tradition, a new way to express oneself that didn’t conform to the restrictive norms.”

“Flashback to the 70s, and you’ll see the wide-legged trousers swinging their way through the disco era. This was the age of bell bottoms and flared pants, a time when fashion was all about freedom and self-expression.”

They will be listened to! This is the age of information and they are a people moved by knowing their rights and will express their discomfort with what they feel infringes on them. There are hardly any job placements for interns let alone opportunities for graduates. And when they turned to creating employment for themselves through the creative industry, that still relies heavily on the spending ability of corporates to make sense, they see that being taken away by policies that are driving away those entities and still asking them to pay more for the little they have.

Even in this quest to be heard, despite their frustration, they just brought their voices and placards. And some fashion and vibes to tell the legislators that they know. But even this generation now will have stories to tell about a struggle for realising their basic rights against the government enforced by the police. By Friday, two fatalities had been reported from the chaos that ensued.

Inyika Odero, an activist, dancer, model and video vixen talked about her experience from the Thursday march. She was witness to a photographer being struck in the face immediately after a gunshot rang allegedly fired by the police. She scattered along with other protesters immediately she sighted blood from the victim on the ground as others moved in to carry him to safety and attention:

“There was extreme police violence/brutality. I was personally targeted by the person shooting from the water cannon and I was hit so bad I’m in hospital right now. I called in sick (at work) last night.

The use of tear gas continuously at short intervals of time was completely uncalled for. Arresting people for peacefully picketing goes against our own laws. We have the right to peacefully demonstrate and they’re taking that right away from us by violently throwing people into Mariamu.

I took to the streets not just because I’m an activist but because every single person and voice counts. Kenyans of all colours and walks of life were present, and that tells you something.

As someone who relies on social media a lot as a content creator, the social media tax will deeply hurt me. As a new land owner, changing the deed from freehold to leasehold will definitely affect me.

The government is getting fat off of our blood, sweat and tears. Millions of taxpayer’s money is going towards renovating people’s houses, more millions to pay the First Lady, why? Taxing cancer treatment, aren’t they suffering enough because they’re sick?

At the beginning of the year when we took to the street to protest against femicide, the government was quiet and now, yet again, they’re quiet.

We demand for better because we deserve better. Power to the people!”

Chebet Kipingor, a digital marketing consultant says, “Everyone has a breaking point and Kenyans are not different. The government does not have a budget issue, they have an accountability issue and if we do not call them out right now, my son and the rest of his generation will be more burdened than we are.

The current regime needs to take a hard look in their mirrors and stop the excessive spending. They need to stop the excessive travel. They need to abolish all unconstitutional offices. They need to start listening, because we will not back down and we are taking note of all the leaders who put their interests above the people of Kenya. No one is above the people.”