ECCENTRIC PROSE - The 2000s Youth: Of Drip, Drugs, Lifestyle, Social Media, Mimicry, and Ideological Consciousness

 By Sonny Mcendisi Dube*

With the 21st century early in its third decade, the children that were born in its first decade are now the youth of today. This youthful demographic has a uniquely catchy and popular vibe; and it has come to be popularly known as Ama2000s which which loosely translates to “the 2000s” in its Ndebele and Zulu provenance. 

This youth emerge at the peak of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), an era of technological advancement and artificial intelligence which presents questions such whether such technological feat is a blessing or a curse, the same questions that arise with these youths on whether we are in a new era of trend, urban fashion, technological wokeness or we are simply erroneously hyping a misguided youth.

There are always two sides to it, there is always a double echo to the narrative. Zviri pa2, to borrow from the lingua franca of Zimbabwean youths in vogue.

This piece is therefore a modest endeavour to capture the Ama2ks youth in the contemporary Southern African (and most importantly the Zimbabwean) neoliberal, consumerist, and highly individualized context of drip; drug use [and abuse; lifestyle/materialist trends and aspirations; social media; and mimicry; all which point to conclusions regarding ideological and national consciousness of Zimbabweans. At least as of 2022. 

Ama2ks are a group of centennials across the globe but this article will confine itself to the African context, particularly the Zimbabwean sphere.

The ama2k youth have a lot of distinctive traits but their flair for the drip, the drama, trend, social media and partying including many others standout.

More often than not when it’s crazy and its trending, there is a high chance ama2ks are part of it. The ama2ks have also struck a notoriety for their unconventional approach to life in general.

It is either 'Drip or Drown' with ama2ks

Drip is the new name for swagger, an urban slang which connotes high-end and trendy fashion sense. Millennials are more familiar with the word swag, so in the ama2k era when someone is dripping they are in the millennial sense simply swagged up.

An ama2ks day out is colourful with leading Western fashion brands including Balenciaga, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Nike from head to toe. Ama2ks also keep abreast with what’s trending in the world of fashion, streets and popular culture. it is always drip or drown with ama2k kids, whether the drip is fake or not, their flair for the latest fabric stands out as one of their supreme dispositions.

This is why slangous phrases such as Vafanha ve Drip and Drip Gang are popular synonymous references to the ama2ks generation. Brand mimicry and fetishism are the end result of such obsession with the latest and trending fashion labels, concepts which are captured in the same excerpt.

Social Media 'Natives'

Ama2ks are what we can call social media natives due to their high and consistent social media presence. Social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram but rarely Twitter are the usual playgrounds for these kids.

Ama2ks have often been called a generation of pictures and hashtags essentially for the reason that they through multiple selfies, capture almost every moment of their life including a night out, daily adventures, their drip, a meal before and after they devour.

Social media platforms are more than merely communication platforms to them, it is actually the Slay Kingdom, the land of slay kings and queens, where all their drip, glitz and glamour comes to life through sharing of pictures.

A smartphone is therefore more than just a communication device to the ama2ks generation, it literary means the world to them essentially because it is a capsule of [or microcosmic of] the fantasy, the slay kingdom and its adventurous moments and memories.

In addition to this, data is the new gold to this generation, an essential commodity that buys them access to social media to flaunt their bubbly personalities and flashy lifestyles. Social media is also where they keep abreast with the latest trends in the world of fashion, lifestyle, popular culture and social media streets. This also includes the latest developments in street lingo or slang at that particular time.

Daring Drugs.

The ama2ks kids are known for being adventurous and daring, risk taking and ready to try new things and live new experiences. Their approach to drugs and drug use has been characterized by unconventionality and a daring attitude, the readiness to try new drugs and intoxicants.

This is the prime reason there is rarely an alcohol-free party and the hubbly or rather hubble-bubble popularly known as shisha or shisha is in all respects in style and is in the literal sense the new cool as it decorates every party as part of the ingredients to a lit party.

If it’s a party, it isn’t popping if there is no shisha. Snaps and snippets from the clubs and parties are decorated by pipes on lips and clouds of smokes in the air. Other drugs, herbs and intoxicants include cocaine, marijuana, crystal meth popularly known as gukka or dombo.

Parents,NGOs, Social Activists and even musicians have always unequivocally aired their displeasure over prevalence of drug abuse but more recently and particularly crystal meth or gukka. DaShocca in his song Vana Vaparara touched this topical subject and the unprecedented damage it is causing to the youth.

Whilst ama2ks are audacious to try and taste it all before it goes to waste, drug abuse and its consequences is not a vice that’s merely confined to this generation, it eats across all age groups and its notoriety cannot be overemphasized.

It is a silent pandemic that has devoured the youth and destroyed many promising futures.

Lack of a Reading Culture and Dearth of Consciousness

Despite all the exposure and social media binging, ama2ks are the most uninformed generation. This is a consequence of a general lack of a reading culture from this particular generation, a disposition so deplorable it has let to the ultimate dearth of consciousness among the youths.

It’s all pictures and audio-visual material but rarely a real book or any piece of literature.

Historical studies or texts and literature are unfashionable to this generation to an extent that someone would rather learn (stumble) of figures as great as Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi from a meme that’s trending on social media than read from a book of their role in the history of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle and their stern resistance to imperialism.

As a consequence, political and social consciousness are wanting, very few of them if any, ever bother to bethink our past histories to better understand questions along class, land, tribal and racial inclinations.

Mimicry, Fetishism and Lack of Support for Local Fashion Brands

Having captured the generation's fascination with the latest fabric, it must be noted that it's simply a manifestation of materialistic attachments that reign supreme in the capitalist contexts. Whilst mimicry in the narrowest sense means to "copy", fetishism is a broader concept but for the sake of this discourse it will be simply put as excessive devotion to some activity, object.

The fascination with Western fashion brands such as LV, Gucci, Balenciaga, Off-White, Dior is in the actual sense mimicry of American lifestyles that are portrayed in hip hop videos, films, mass media and social media.

As a consequence, the youth's obsession with materialistic indulgences lead to them mimicking Western cultures that are divorced from local contexts, which all in honesty are devoid of relatability.

 The original brands are expensive and in an ailing economy such as Zimbabwe, the affordability of the materialistic uptown lifestyle is a distant reality, hence leading to the youth settling for imitations of Western brands which are cheaper. This has seen the prevalence fake Gucci's, LV, Balenciaga, Nike's which have flooded the urban flea-markets to meet the low-budget pockets of the ghetto yut dem.

The mimicry and obsession with international brands simply reveal a contemptuous attitude towards local culture, particularly local fashion brands and fashion statements.

There are actually a plenty of local brands, home-grown creatives which are relatable and speak to local contexts through the fabric. Interestingly some are even in the native Shona or Ndebele.


Local fashion brands and labels include Hatiperi, Mudiwa Hood, Hatipfeke Junk, Loft Clothing, Guided Youth, Faith Wear, Kidd Hunta, Ventiana, Boyz Dze Tonaz, Team Bhoo, The NovemberMan, Axecure, Nehanda & Co, VVVTT, SVG, Tasha Black and a lot more.

As intriguing as it is, Zimbabwe has a number of locally born products that simply need support from the local audience/ market. Support from the local market/audience and the ability to connect to local contexts is what has led South African local brands such as AmaKipKip, Cashtime, Skhanda World, Rich Mnisi, YGen, Selfi, Maxhosa by Laduma, Cotton Fest etc to flourish, stay afloat and break through international markets.

Local support and changing our attitudes towards local content, products, culture and contexts and adopting a "proudly local" "proudly Zimbabwean" attitude will be a great impetus for the #CULTURE.

The Zimbabwean Youth in the context of the 4th Revolution

With the advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), the youth must be woke and be able to adapt to this era of technological advancement including robotics and artificial intelligence. This presents exigent questions as regards the future of "work" as some professions will be partially replaced whilst others will be wholly supplanted.

According to the World Economic Forum the top-three skills required to thrive in the 4IR include Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Creativity.

This therefore is to show that the youth instead of the needless social media binge, they need to acquaint themselves with technological developments such that they adapt and equip themselves with the skillset required including a zeal and appreciation for innovation and creativity, software varieties, and the multifariousness of ICT.

Instead of obsessing with vain trends, the youth should be readying themselves for the 4IR developing their skills along innovation and entrepreneurship.

*Sonny Mncendisi Dube writes here in his personal capacity.

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