The Generation “Xaxa CC 2tafanyaje” | The Tanzania’s New Online Generation That Needed Saving From Itself.
It’s raining cat and dogs in Dar es Salaam, deciding to work from home, rescheduling all my meetings and focusing on doing my paperwork. After three straight hours of reading complicated stuff, I decide to preview our (Sahara Ventures) social media pages and check what is trending in Dar, as usual, you expect hashtags such #MafurikoDar , #CAGReport etc to trend because it is that season of the year again. Today that is of less interest to me. I want to focus more on generation “Xaxa” which includes my immediate young cousins, now in high school.
The generation “Xaxa” is a young generation of Swahili internet users who have adopted Swahili slang in typing and writing, beyond that, they have same line of thinking towards certain social, political and economic issues, very open and confident on the internet and very closed and pessimistic in real life — this definition is from my personal observation. Someone can carry a study if they wish.
- A typical Swahili statement of generation “Xaxa” will read | “Xaxa CC 2tafanyaje” instead of “Sasa sisi tutafanyaje”. It can be a SMS text, Facebook comment, Instagram post or WhatsApp message.
I have used internet since 2001, I was one of the great fans of “Warda Internet Cafe” at Kariakoo, that is where I learn how to surf. My favorite local websites back them being Dar-Hotwire and Mzibo.net, with the latest news of local musicians and free new Bongo-Flava Songs. I wrote my first blog post in 2009, I went further to found several other blogs; WebTechJR, Tech360Magazine, TechBox360, Knowcache etc. With all my years of using the internet, almost 19 years, for the first time in my life I’m witnessing a “fascinating”, extremely interesting generation of internet users in Tanzania. The reason I’m saying is fascinating is because it is not bad or good generation. It is not bad because they speak what they feel it’s right by them, it’s not good because they are not “prepared” to speak.
So what is a good thing about generation “Xaxa”,
- Very open-minded.
- Very exposed due to constant usage of internet.
- Computer-Mobile literate, they can do so many stuff on social media.
- Very innovative, they can start campaigns and attract attention real quick.
So what is bad about generation “Xaxa”
- They don’t involve themselves in productive conversation. They ‘insult’ instead of building facts during discussions.
- They don’t read hence they are not informed, they jump into conversations and conclusions.
- They follow ‘trends’ and not ‘real issues’ they can easily be misled. They confuse between ‘issues’ and ‘non-issues’.
- They consume, create and spread “wrong” contents online.
Why we need to talk about generation “Xaxa”, this generation is the future of Tanzania internet users. Their number is going up and we can’t afford to have dumb internet users. It is bad for them and worse for the country. The generation “Xaxa” needs help, they need mentoring and advice. What can we do to help them?
- Encourage them to “READ” not just “read”, we need to help them start reading beyond social media posts. Read articles, read books etc. Help them to attain more knowledge.
- We need to help them to get into a fruitful conversation, to build facts and ask the right questions instead of quickly getting into fights and starting to insult people.
- We need to help them to develop as young leaders, help them to stay focus on issues that ‘real matters’ and not to follow the bandwagon. They need to tell their own story but in the right way.
- We need to help them understand what contents to consume, create and share.
To be honest, I love this generation, I believe they are destined to do great things for our country, Tanzania. Collectively we can help our young brothers and sisters to grow as LEADERS.
- Appreciation | My young cousins (brothers and sisters), Baraka, Kabula, Sharifa, Kassim and others — Generation “Xaxa” for your insightful feedback.
- Joyce Msigwa | For your deep social insights on the issue.