On April 23rd 2008, in the Kono District of Sierra Leone, hundreds of young people invaded a company-held sand dump, and began to load diamondiferous sand into buckets and onto trucks. This was done in defiance of both the company and the government. They continued this illegal action for five days as their numbers multiplied, until overpowered by the police and military. Clashes broke out and degenerated into general violence and vandalism in nearby Koidu city that lasted for several days. At first glance this bold and defiant act appears to add to the body of evidence of the changing social norms of youth in post-war Sierra Leone, who are less deferent to authority, and more demanding of their rights. However, this defiant posture was reversed only two months later, during the local elections, at which time these same youth became staunch supporters of the ruling APC party, and youth groups aligned themselves with "the government of the day". This case suggests that, despite the evidence of changing attitudes many youth hold about deference to elders and reciprocity in relationships, patrimonialism continues to shape, and to limit, their engagement in the public domain.