“Born Free”? Youth Reflections on Post-1994 South Africa in Thought We Had Something Going
Keywords:Born free, post-1994 South Africa, space, race, skhothane, apathy
The condition of being young and a “born free” South African is the central issue that young writers featured in the 2015 e-anthology Thought We Had Something Going, edited by Thando Sangqu, contend with as they make their own contributions to South African literary discourses and writings. The writers find their niche in an online media space to make personal reflections and representations on what it means to be youth in post-1994 South Africa. The focus of this article is specifically on the stories and thought pieces “Hashtag #WhiteGirlsInNyanga: An Anecdotal Reflection on Racial Affinity and Racial Identity in a Post-Apartheid South Africa,” “The Youth Is Dark and Full of Bullshit” and “Skhothane Behaviour.” I explore the paradoxes that characterise the writings and are associated with characters’ lived experiences; and drawing on the concepts of space and conspicuous consumption, I examine how remnants and legacies of apartheid continue to shape and define youth spatial, political and social experiences and lifestyles. The main contention in these writings and in this article is that the label “born free” is superficial and far from a true reflection of the conditions of being the youth in post-1994 South Africa.
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