The accelerated rise in materialism and consumerism amongst township youth is reaching epidemic proportions. Evident in designer brands in particular and their ‘carpe diem’ attitude, the influence of the West’s celebrity and TV culture and broken values has hit-home with dangerous consequences.
“Ukukhothana,” or ‘”lick” is a burgeoning sub-culture in Johannesburg and surrounds, where teens come to strut their stuff comparing who has the best of the best, and even going so far as to burn money or designer shoes to show off. The reward is fame. But the price is high.
Demanding or abusing their parents or grandparent’s money to support a lavish lifestyle which includes designer ‘takkies’ and jeans at R1200.00 a pop – a month – these young people are not only sending them into debt or using up their hard-earned pensions, but they are even going so far as to threaten them with suicide if their wants are not met – so great is the peer pressure.
Jobless graduates wondering the streets are seen as deterrents to education and hard work, instead of role models representing better opportunities. In their place, common thugs, corrupt politicians, flashy businessmen and local rappers who appear in our daily headlines exuding a sense of entitlement, adorned in fancy clothes, driving expensive cars and trailed by trophy women seem far more attractive and influential.
Mamphela Ramphele, in her book, “Conversations With My Sons and Daughters” refers to the breakdown in family values and a generation searching for a mission that needs to re-mobilise towards a society that one can be proud of.
What are your thoughts? What type of affect is this unsustainable culture of excess having on South Africa’s young people? How do you think we can change it? How do we fix our value system? What tools do we need?