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All you need is Mxit

All you need is MXit

by Daniel Friedman / 09.06.2010

There is no turning point at which one wakes up, one day, to find that one is an adult. It’s a gradual process, and in my case not necessarily one that has been fully completed. But occasionally things happen that make me realise that I’m not young anymore. Such as when a study is released about the “youth of today”, and I realise that those who published it are not talking about me. While I may still be young enough to, say, join the ANC Youth League, it has come to my attention recently that, nowadays, there is a new generation of young people out there, and I am not part of it. And ironically, since I have always liked the idea of never fully growing up, and have always identified with youth culture, I find them really annoying and like nothing better than complaining about them.

Last weekend’s Sunday Times featured the Generation Next 8 – 22 Youth Brand Survey, put together by a company called Youth Marketers. What the study said about the youth did not surprise me, but it did depress me. If this study truly does describe the mindset of young South Africans, then they are mindlessly materialistic, their lives are driven by consumption and they want nothing more than to buy what they are being sold.

The study featured a number of graphs. One, in particular, offered an interesting overview of where the minds of young people are at. Titled “Can’t Live Without”, the results were, in this order: “Parents”, followed by “cellphone”, followed by “money”, “parents”, “MXit”, “Friends”, “School”, “Music”, “Bible” and “Love”. Have cell phone companies really been doing their job so well that you prefer their products to your friends, music and even your folks? Is MXit really now officially bigger than love? I fucking hope not.

I really do not want to believe that this is the “generic generation”, less able or willing to look critically at the world than its predecessors, but this seems to be the case. Even a look at what’s happened to my beloved hip hop seems to prove this. We’ve gone from Biggy to T Pain, Tupac to Fiddy. We seem to be losing our edge, getting duller by the decade.

I remember when my grandmother used to go on about the good old days. You know, the whole “when I was your age it only cost three in tuppence to go to the bioscope and you still had enough money to buy an Eskimo Pie”. Rereading this, I am forced to admit that I sound just like my grandmother. And so now I attempt to make sense of this, and decide whether I actually have a point or whether I just can’t accept that I’m getting old.

Some would argue that every generation will find fault in the one that follows it. Lately, though, I’m beginning to think there’s a good reason for this: we’re devolving, each generation becoming just a little bit dumber than the one that preceded it. I do not want to lose my faith in young people. They have the potential to be so much more open-minded, progressive and forward-thinking than people my age. So my message to the kids is this: Think for yourselves, rebel, experiment and do not, by any means, just mindlessly consume. I don’t even want you to give up your beloved MXit, just to understand that people are using it, and using you, to sell things, and you need to take control and make sure it’s you, and not Youth Marketers, Mr Price or KFC in the driving seat. Yes, I’m calling you stupid. But I want nothing more than for you to prove me wrong.

Check out Mr Friedman’s blog here.

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RESPONSES (39)
  1. Lisa says:

    anywhere we can see the rest of the sresults of the survey?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see the rest of the results too!

    I share your sentiments completely. This is not “back in my day” ranting, but rather a very scary sign of human “devolution”.

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  3. Elzibi Zootsman says:

    It’s not the Reckoning, but rather the Thickening, I’m afraid. Cases in point: Locnville, Kanye West, Gaga, Fiddy et al. The airwaves are filled with shit, the clubs are filled with shit, the net has become the refuge of niche cultures (but is also similarly and largely filled with, you got it, shit) and the clothes we wear are, as a result of market forces, shit quality. The clothing brands – which sell individualism to the masses, like that isn’t a sign of the times – the stores that pimp them in the malls, the tunes that play in the background and the reconstituted, machine-recovered fast food are all the product of the same bunch of companies.

    If it sounds shit, it looks shit and it tastes shit, it’s probably shit.

    Welcome to the age of Kak.

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  4. headbutt says:

    S’funny, but I remember when I was a kid things were just as bad. Consumerism and faddish enthusiasm were driven by peer pressure, which is a hallmark of that age group irrespective of the era. The difference today is that the marketing machine that sells these things to kids is a lot more refined and aggressive, but on the flipside kids are now maturing and becoming media literate at a much earlier age. It’s also important to note that this South African generation is growing up without the mental shackles of Apartheid, so they’re already ahead in the mental health stakes.

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  5. Tomas says:

    @Lisa

    Try the Sunday Times.

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  6. Why celebrite have a lot of work like she/he work on raido,tv,adverts,presenter and acter. we dont get opportunity to prove our self but we go to univerty to get experience.But still no change

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  7. Classy says:

    back in the day when a pack of smokes were R15 and a 2 litre coke R7!!! FML

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  8. RiaanP says:

    What’s most concerning to me is that love ranks last! Perhaps this new generation is learning to live without love because they don’t know what it is – can’t identify it? Yes, I’m talking to you, parents who don’t spend enough time with their kids!

    Or perhaps it’s just a case of “Kids say the darnedest things”. Sitting with your chinas, a reporter rocks up and start asking questions that make your peers stare at you. Of course you are going to say what is peer-accepted and considered cool at that time.

    Personally, I have faith in them!

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  9. Happy says:

    I think that you guys forget that if a teenager rates a social tool such as Mxit or a cellphone as more important than their friends or love, it is because for them that tool is the gateway to interact with their friends/loved ones.

    If a 16 year old chooses a cellphone, it naturally implies everything else. What else is he going to use the phone for? Frankly it’s astounding to think that a teenager can nowadays access almost any information in a few seconds via their Blackberries and I think that the youth’s technological literacy is what makes older people feel left out. The youth are getting dumber in the classical sense, but they are maturing much faster and are much more world-wise than we could have ever hoped to be. They don’t need to remember algebraic equations or historical dates, because that information is always on-hand via cellphones. But they can smell out BS much faster, since they use technology to investigate things independently as well as thoroughly. If they want to know something, they Google it.

    At least they still put family first.

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  10. juan diaz says:

    this is a very well written and insighful piece, Kids are meant to be fucked up, but not in this way at all

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  11. fourtet says:

    Hmmm. I find the biggest fuckup here is that kids rate the bible above love. I’m not feeling wordy enough this lovely Monday morning to go into the irony of religious ‘education’/indoctrination… but my god, isn’t this interesting.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    You don’t think that having 24/7 access to a mobile device which can give them any information they need, or allow them to communicate with anyone anywhere, is a good thing? Most of South Africa’s youth don’t have access to libraries or decent desktop type computers and the internet, but because of the affordability of cellphones they can now have access to these resources. There are problems, but the potential of this technology is so immense, it can’t be written off, without question this is the most exciting time to be alive. I wouldn’t want to go back for anything in the world.

    There have always been mindless and materialistic people, just look at the 80’s for god’s sake, that feels like yesterday, but it was 30 years ago already, and that is the mainstream. Progressive, open-minded people, have always been a minority.

    This article is full of the generic, short-sighted views that could only have come from someone getting old and out of touch.

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  13. Daiz says:

    U’re al right luv u so much

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  14. Thandeka says:

    I think mxit is not gud 4 kids under 18 it is gud 4 people who doesnt attend school eg like adults 4 fun

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  15. Thabza com says:

    mxit is good but not children under 18 coz sometimes u want to meet her/him you go there u wil find a shit a smal boy or gal in age of 7 or 8 and 9 children are comfortable with 2go not mxit mxit is our,s adult

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I want mxit in my phone

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  17. Xolani Mbikwana says:

    I need 2go in my phone please

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  18. I like 2 chat with people

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Iwantgetmxit

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  20. Baby girl says:

    Hi hw r u

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  21. Kiring.booysen says:

    Hi I WNT MXIT MY NUMBER 0730968520

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  22. Tumi says:

    No comment

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  23. Aphiwe says:

    I want frinds to my mxit

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  24. Kgali says:

    I think mxit is gud 4 ppl dat r 14 upwards

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  25. Kgali says:

    I think mxit is also gud 4 children at the age of 14 not 18 only!THINK TWICE

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  26. Tumi says:

    I thk mxit is gd 4 ages starting 4rm 13 upwards

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  27. Simphiwe says:

    Mxit

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  28. Simphiwe says:

    All i need is mxit so that i can chat with my friend and shara my pic with them

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  29. reabetswe says:

    I would lyk 2 get mxit coz I wnt 2 chat wth my frndz nd I thnk mxit is 4 de children under de age of 15 up untel de age of 25

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  30. mpoetsi says:

    i nid a 4rnd in mxit so that i can be able 2 chat with otrer ppl

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  31. mpoetsi says:

    i nid a friend

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  32. wisani shegirl says:

    i think this issue of mxit is old, helow get over it…we now have whatsup twitwer n facebook n de likes….please familiarise urselfs with one

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Mavèlas

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  34. I tnx mxit is gud 4 chldrn over 13 says:

    2778667902

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  35. I tnx mxit is gud 4 chldrn over 13 says:

    Flora

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  36. simon says:

    i need lv ok

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  37. I rly need 2 get my MXIT bck 2 chat 2 al my bra'z nd dats da only tng my 4rnds hve nd i got evrytng else bt MXIT plz help me says:

    Plz plz plz need help getin Mxit nd aonda 100000 plz’s in da world

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  38. mbali gusheshe says:

    al i nid is mxit bcoz i wanna find frndz and my family

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