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Middle-class parents raising generation of spoilt brats

By Alex Balimwikungu

Two glaring incidents within a space of a fortnight trended on Twitter. Kids, barely in their 20s, were holding forte with wild parties in Kampala during the lockdown.

If the videos of them scaling walls at Cayenne or the hundreds singing to Joeboy’s song Sip (Alcohol) at Forest Mall’s Drew & Jacs  are not a mockery to the fight against COVID-19, then what is?

Moralists like Pastor Martin Ssempa took their crusade to Twitter. Former Ugandans on Twitter president, Assistant Inspector General of Police Asan Kasingye, inadvertently admitted defeat in trying to tame this crop of young entitled Ugandans, who, because of the money availed by their middle-class parents, have become brats.

They have a trademarked Instagram account, with close to 72,000 followers. They are a pampered lot and we can only look on as they try to imitate their richer cousins. They are the Rich Kids of Kampala.

The name obviously comes from Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, a show on  American cable channel E!. Even though these kids are close to peasants in comparison with the Beverly Hills kids, they are a pain!

Even by Ugandan standards, you can’t help but take notice. They live in an exclusive world filled with unbelievable extravagance and enormous fortunes, party in the most exclusive clubs, pay jaw-dropping prices for exclusive custom-fitted clothing and their stress is numbed by the soothing sounds of the ocean in exotic locations. Lately, they have added defying COVID-19 SOPs as long as it doesn’t stand in their way of enjoying a good party.

Kasingye’s frustration was palpable. He posted on Twitter about the incident on Sunday night.

“The proprietor (Drew & Jacs) has been taken to court thrice. Then this happened. I am told there are more charges and he’s hiding away in RSA. The #KMP Commander was personally there to close this perennial abuser of the law. Will brief about the next action.”

The entitled kids, perhaps aware that Kasingye’s threats were mere rhetoric, shoved their affluence on Twitter.

Cue talk of how they can drink a Police constable’s salary in just one sitting; how their parents toiled for them while other parents were attending meaningless clan meetings… and so on, as they flashed some of the latest phones.

Just when we thought that the word ‘entitlement’ may strike fear in the hearts of affluent parents – especially the self-made ones – Uganda’s middle-class parents are drifting far from the script.

On the evidence of kids in Kampala disregarding curfew hours to binge party, you would not be wrong to fault parents for raising a new breed of ‘princesses’ and ‘little kings’.

Asan Kasingye

The entitled kids, perhaps aware that Kasingye’s threats were mere rhetoric, shoved their affluence on Twitter. Cue talk of how they can drink a Police constable’s salary in just one sitting; how their parents toiled for them while other parents were attending meaningless clan meetings… and so on, as they flashed some of the latest phones

Mothers and fathers are said to be lavishing expensive clothes and gadgets on their children to keep up appearances. They have literary shoved silver spoons down their progeny’s throats –  it has become a competition.

Like day follows night, you can rightly predict that these cossetted home lives will leave these children ill-equipped for life in the adult world; some will be too lazy to lift a finger when asked to perform a real job.

Moses Semakula, a psychologist, says the pattern is inevitable and stems from the developed world. Parents are busy making money.

“Working couples have very little time for each other, or their children, so when the kids are younger, they are rarely with them. Some spend years in boarding schools. When they grow older, say, in Senior Six vacation or join university, they (parents) feel guilty and buy them off by lavishing them with gifts,” he says.

Juxtapose that with the life of Peter Buffett, a popular American musician, composer, author, and philanthropist with a net worth of $40b as of 2021.

In his book, Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path To Fulfilment, Peter Buffett talks about practical steps, like requiring children to do chores and letting them solve problems on their own instead of bailing them out. But he warns that children will pick up on their parents’ true beliefs about money, no matter what a parent says about money.

“If a child sees a parent trying to make themselves look better by accumulating things, then (the child’s) going to think that’s what life’s about.”

Peter, the youngest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, says the message was loud and clear growing up: money wasn’t what mattered in life. Instead, it was finding something you loved to do and then doing it. He ended up doing music.

“I really think the parent’s relationship to money and things is sort of the bottom line,” says Peter Buffett. “Of course, famously, I saw my father have almost zero relationship to material things. We didn’t see {money) growing up, specifically, which was key. And I still don’t see it

Where are the Rich Kids of Kampala of 10 years ago?

Ten years ago, we still had rich kids in Kampala. Most are now in their early 30s. Although they were rich, they never really rubbed dad or mum’s wealth in our faces.

Most were led on a guided path and are now mid-level or top managers in their parents’ blossoming business.  Rajiv Ruparelia is running his father’s empire.  The likes of Gloria Wavamunno and Natalie Bitature have charted their paths with great success.

Nadia Mbire and Siki Kigongo have become entrepreneurs, while the likes of Alex Akandwanaho Saleh (the youngest Ugandan to own an airline at nine),  have settled down for marriage and business.

Siki Kigongo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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