Young and restless

Dear  PEW Research Center for Journalism and Media I owe much of the last four years to you, but fam, I think you’re tripping. You’ve got to re-evaluate some of your stats and maybe some of your phrasing too.

PEW published an article that I and hopefully you the aware reader am not so sure about.

The article is a report on millennial attitudes towards politics in the US. Researchers found that “When asked to choose among a list of nine topics, only a quarter of millennials named government and politics as one of topics they are most interested in. By comparison, politics ranks among the top three interests for roughly a third (34%) of Gen Xers and 45% of Baby Boomers.”

But what am I even talking about?  Babyboomers Gen Xers? Political  apathy, amongst young  people? 

Last week we looked at politics and popular culture, establishing that the symbolic relationship between the two is mutualistic. #bioed.

What we didn’t look at and haven’t looked at as yet is who and how are the consumers of this popular culture in relation to the politics. Hence today’s post.

Understanding the millennial in today’s political climate.

1.What is a millennial?

A millennial is technically anyone born 1980-2000.

But a there is a difference within this age group. 1980s millennial are different from 1990s millennial.

90’s millennial are considered to be young millennial and for the purpose of this post and the context of that PEW, were going to look at these youngins.

Also baby boomers are our grandparents. Yeah. Kinda gross.

And Gen Xers are our parents. The internet can make everyone sounder cooler.

2. What do millennials do?

Well the major criticism with millennials is best put forward by Joel Stein in his 2013 Time article Millennials the me me me generation

Stein’s article, published in the dying medium of print. Why writes an article about young people in a medium that they have little access to? Idk.

His article showed the millennial as part of  a narcissistic, behind a screen, lazy society that will change the world and make it a better place.

Stein found that within an American context

  •   58% increase incidence of narcissistic personality disorder in college students from 1985-2009
  • 40%  of millenials believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance.
  •  60% of millennials in any situation is that they’ll just be able to feel what’s right.
  •  more people ages 18 to 29 live with their parents than with a spouse, according to the 2012 Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults.
  • And they are lazy. In 1992, the nonprofit Families and Work Institute reported that 80% of people under 23 wanted to one day have a job with greater responsibility; 10 years later, only 60% did.

But in looking closer at his research he also found that there is tremendous merit in millennial and their interaction through the digital world.

Millennials are of the  born in the age of internet. They have grown up with Google. And thus being the “opportunistic generation” they are have made the most of the digital platform. They have changed every industry, not forcing companies to go online but forcing companies to create an online space too.

They rule this space more than any other generation.

new info

3.‘This revolution will be tweeted.’

South African millennial is probably one of the best example and challenges to PEW and its phewy research. They are making the most of the online digital space to put across their views, concerns, demand and solutions towards politics in this country.

#feesmustfall #rhodesmustfall are two movements that encapsulate this. During last year’s week of #nationalshutdown a mind-blowing 300 tweets using #feesmustfall were tweeted every minute. I did the math

In one hour – 18 000,  eight thousand tweets went out into the platform.                                 In one day – 422 000                                                                                                                                         In 5 days of national shut down – 2160 000.                                                                                           I can’t say that number and I’m not making any mentions too. But it’s a lot.

World Economic Forum on Africa 2009

Throwing shade.


The movement was not just all tweets and no action too. Marches and protest were well attended and well supported by all South African universities.

SHARPEVILLE. MARIKANA. FEESMUSTFALL WHO PROTECTS US FROM YOU. Today students across South Africa has a nation-wide shutdown of universities in protest of the 10,8% fee increases proposed for next year. In Cape Town, students from the University of Cape Town, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of the Western Cape, along with supporters of the student movement, mobilised and conducted a peaceful protest outside parliament in preparation for Blade’s Nzimande address, which was scheduled for 2pm. Instead, we were made to wait an hour, then we were met with what I would describe as a military operation conducted by the South African Police Services, taken straight from the days of Apartheid. DIVIDE – INTIMIDATE – BRUTALIZE. In gangs of policeman, they beat our sisters to the ground, trampled their defenseless bodies, through stun grenades, smoke grenades, pepper spray, and cordoned off the students into smaller groups so that they could fuck us up even more. In order to disperse the crowd, the police now on motor-bikes and armed with guns with rubber bullets set off on a path of what can only be described as sadistic POLICE BRUTALITY. We are unarmed intelligent students who understand that if we allow fees to go up by 10%, then in ten years time, fees will be doubled, and blacks will become uneducated cheap labour- once again, fit only for building the palaces of white supremacy. #FEESMUSTFALL #ENDOUTSOURCING #nationalshutdown #policebrutality

A post shared by 11 : 11 || South Africa (@imraanchristian) on


They were also all successful. There was a 0% fees increase, reached. Look, look

The movement continues to grow, and protest is still occurring.

Ask any South African millennial, and they will tell you that their, our, struggle is not over yes report.

 Stats SA is still working on it of youth political involvement and awareness, but the shear traction of these campaigns online, its is clear that political apathy among South African millennials is scarce.

Pew can be challenged in its own research.Across the years,  there were more people in the 18-24 age group in 2008 who were politically minded than any their year prior.


So PEW, thank you for your research, and South African youth thank you for changing it up.


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