A few months ago, author William Gumede described Zuma as someone with a narcissistic personality disorder — a set of traits defined by Austrian psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut as “including an exaggerated sense of superiority, a lack of self-awareness about the impact of their behaviour and having a disdain for others, who they devalue to validate their own grandiosity”. These people lack empathy, have a distorted sense of reality and are incapable of seeing anything from anyone else’s perspective. Narcissists like Zuma, Gumede argues, can’t accept responsibility and don’t care if they take down entire countries with them. The events at Nkandla, sadly for Zuma, only reinforced that perspective.
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