My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Recent controversies around the Bench and the Bar have highlighted the significance of race and existing patterns of power and privilege within the legal system and profession. Yet public debates seldom explore these issues explicitly. Discussions often end in a stalemate, where views are predetermined along racial lines, and where assertions of racism are countered by calls to reward merit or experience. The time has surely arrived to transcend these tired arguments and explore a new transformative vision of the legal system. In this, we need to acknowledge and confront the institutional and cultural structures that perpetuate racialised privilege and marginalisation. We also need to move beyond those narratives which are determined by our Apartheid past to confront the issues which threaten the profession and the legal system at the moment.
The panel discussion will be facilitated by Judge Dennis Davis. Our panellists are Mr Tshepo Madlingozi from the University of Pretoria, Dr Adila Hassim from the AIDS Law Project, Mr Tembeka Ncgukaitobi from the Legal Resources Centre and Advocate Sharise Weiner from the Johannesburg bar. Refreshments will be served after the event.
Date: Thursday 26 November 2009 at 17:00‐19:00.
Venue: Auditorium, Chalsty Centre, Oliver Schreiner Building, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Kindly RSVP to Hafiza.Wadee@wits.ac.za by 23 November or tel 011‐717‐8412.BACK TO TOP