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“We are celebrating our clan flag” phenomenon is slowly destroying the Generation Z



By: Yasmin Mohamed 

NAIROBI—There’s a collective misconception about the new generation—a new reality influenced by social media and the unreal glamour it represents. The older generations aren’t innocent either.

Lately, our social media timelines have been awash with celebrations in honour of “clan flags.” This phenomenon is something the larger population of the young Kenyan Somalis have adopted from their extended relatives across the borders thanks to TikTok, a short-form video hosting platform.

If you inquire about the intent of such celebrations and history behind it, only a small fraction of the hyped youngsters will do it, albeit scanty.

Such events are characterised by to the wearing of outfits and regalias, flags and face-colouring. The enthusiasts then storm parks, changing outfits and doing TikTok challenges in a bid to make their mark known to all.

As a someone belonging to the same Generation Z who are constantly ridiculed for their online behaviour, I find no fault in the celebration but the objectives don’t sit well with me.

The Somali community has been relying majorly on oral literature to relay information from one generation to another and the advent of technology hasn’t changed much of that. But due to the disconnect between the older and the younger generation, so much information has been lost as much as cultural patriotism and history is concerned.

A group of young people posing for a photo. (Facebook)

From what’s displayed on social media, certain clans claim superiority and throw the ‘’Boqortoyo’’ term over others because their grandfathers once served in the colonial military or raided their neighbours and claimed more financial and political power.

There has also been an increase in access and involvement in Somali showbiz. Teens and younger adults are following trends set by their favourite artists and enhancing a community of highly faithful followers who pick up the slightest words and actions from their internet idols who stand in the way of proper cultural and Islamic moral teachings.

Nonetheless, politics across the North Eastern region has also impacted such celebrations for they want to be seen patriotic and we well understand how the politics in the region is shaped by alignment to whichever clan alliances are formed. So if any of those clans were have such celebrations during the campaign periods, you were sure to witness a colourful event filled with pomp. All the preaching on unity and advocating for a cohesive community drops to oblivion once elections are over.

It is important to learn the dynamics involve in securing the future generations from disregarding our cultural teachings and choosing to follow “modern ways” that are not purely advantageous to our identity. Parents and the elderly also have to bridge that gap by limiting the kind of information their children access or setting good examples in how cultural days and historic celebrations are done.


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