Mind the Afrilennial: Part Two, What’s Up With South African Millennials?

In case you missed it, our previous article on millennials took a more learned look at millennials than some of the sensationalist tabloid style drivel you are probably used to reading about millennials. There’s a lot more to generational theory than meets the eye and there’s a lot more to millennials than most are willing to concede. The main take-outs were this; you cannot diagnose an entire generation with a personality disorder, nor can you discount the role certain life stages play in the formation of peoples’ personalities. The entire conversation is about to take another turn now as we delve into a far more specific sector of society – the African millennial or the Afrilennial.

It’s Time to Understand Afrilennials

Understanding a generation is often the first step to understanding how better to work together and form successful teams. Furthermore, by 2025 they will make up 75% of our workforce; they aren’t going away. In part, this is why we have become so conscious of the differences between generations. More different still from the average millennial? – African millennials. More than the way they were raised they were subject to a very unique political and socio-economic backdrop. What does that mean though?

What Makes Afrilennials Unique?

Most South African millennials grew up in a post-apartheid era and the older ones may still remember the horrific ramifications of it. The fact of the matter though is that this set the scene for a plethora of influential factors, some of the biggest being the fact that they are by and large politically woke and unfortunately pretty broke thanks to the 2008 recession and the ripple effects thereof.

Afrilennials Versus Global Millennials

After the abolition of apartheid South Africans were exceptionally hopeful and positive about the future and as will other millennials, the parents of Afrilennials also told their children that they could pursue their passions and find success through hard work. Well; that fell flat though didn’t it? Their dreams steadily faded with the recession and continued political turmoil. Deep down they still cling to the hope that they can make a difference so they have championed and continue to champion causes such as the #FeelsMustFall movement.

The Afrilennial and Education

As a whole South Africa has experienced massive growth in the number of educated individuals entering the workplace. A massive 84% of South African millennials have completed a matric or some level of tertiary education compared to 58% of the older generations having done so. This fact alone has been a driving factor in their push for more and better education because Afrillenials see the value in education. Drawing parallels between #FeesMustFall and the Sharpeville massacre Afrilennials are determined to agitate for change and positively affect their communities. The best way for them to do this in their opinion is through hard work… perseverance however is not always their strong point.

Afrilennials Climbing the Career Ladder

Many South African millennials who have access to information at the tips of their fingers struggle to relate to older generations. Due to the dreaded millennial impatience, they struggle to wait in the wings when they know they have worked hard to earn their stripes. These days especially Afrilennials are working in jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago and the learning curve is so incredibly steep, but still they are subject to stale hierarchical policies which more often than now stifle growth and innovation.

Afrilennials Turn to Each Other

With this massive struggle to fit into a workplace which was not designed for them, Afrilennials are increasingly entrepreneurial especially as they prize financial independence. Partially influenced by the recession, many of them have come to realise that they are better off working to manifest their own dreams than those of their boss. This is where their collaborative nature and strong sense of individuality come in very handy, more still, they thrive on change and flexibility. Pushing disruptive practices, services and technologies is second nature to them and if you won’t sit up and listen, someone else will. Afrilennials give each other credit where it’s due and support each other in a way that Generation X didn’t.

Befriend an Afrilennial

If you understand what drives them, Afrilennials bring fresh perspective and energy to their teams but working together successfully requires more than free beer, selfie booths and bean bags. Afrilennials need authenticity, collaboration, disruption and innovation. They have a unique view of the world and they strive to change it for the better. What more could you ask of the next generation?

Does your company see the value of this unique generation? Do you leverage them to innovate and find unique solutions? Or do you stifle them because you perceive them to be untitled and arrogant? Ultimately, some of us will always be searching for the ways we are different rather than the ways we are the same. If you are a proud Afrilennial ready for a change why not drop us your CV or peruse our jobs, you never know, you could find the meaning you are looking for.

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