Gen Zs in Kenya

Gen Zs in Kenya: A Stereo-type Defying Generation

A different group of Kenyans showed up on the streets of Nairobi to protest against the infamous Finance Bill proposals. The Tuesday protests, attracted a new young and vibrant lot of anti-government protesters, to defy the many warped perceptions about them: Gen Zs.

The youth, full of optimism, good looks, and tech-savvy, took to the streets in a rather experienced fashion, contrary to expectations. They were carrying placards, content creation equipment, and branded clothing with controversial messages to drive their points home.

Often dismissed as apathetic keyboard warriors, who only threw tantrums on social media, the stereotype-defying generation stepped up as opposed to their predecessors who are often politicians’ hirelings, to cause chaos and loot the Central Business District.

They were very organized in their presentation. They wore black, and could easily be spotted. The young men and women followed the dress code and kept track of each other. 

They were able to mobilize themselves, under “Occupy Parliament” on TikTok and Twitter as a space. Instead of crude weapons, the youthful Tuesday’s protestors were armed with smartphones and placards bearing various messages.

The organizers were able to not only have young people come to protest but to educate them on the why. Their main concerns are the high cost of living, tax on sanitary towels, motor vehicle tax, and additional cost of bread.

Who are Gen Zs in Kenya?

Gen Zs in Kenya
Gen Zs in Kenya leading Tuesday 18 protests in Nairobi/Photo Courtesy

Gen Zs is a generation of people, colloquially known as Zoomers, a cohort succeeding Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha. These were born between 1997 and 2012. This generation’s identity has been shaped by the digital age, climate anxiety, a shifting financial landscape, and COVID-19.

They brought the CBD to a standstill as they braved teargas and police harassment. The young Turks, peacefully marched through the city demanding that their leaders reject the bill. 

Many footage of the protesters expressing defying unlawful government arrests and some in police custody, showcased their defiance and determination. Some posted selfies in custody, encouraging their fellows to stand strong against intimidation and brutality.

On Tuesday, after a Parliamentary Group meeting at State House, the Chair of the Finance Committee, Kimani Kuria, said the government had “listened” to Kenyans and struck out several proposals. These include the 16% VAT on bread, 2.5% motor vehicle tax, and excise duty on vegetable oil.

Kenyans took to social media to praise the Gen Zs for their bravery and efforts to face the government of the day and make their voices heard. They encouraged them to do more, as the road had just begun, to continue putting the government in check.