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.
As Danny Jordaan, the World Cup’s lead South African organizer said, “People will see we are African. We are world-class.” Note that the concern is about what the world sees not what South Africans see. What South Africans see, as one young man told me, is, “Football ..looting our country.” The contrasts are becoming conflicts because the government at the behest of FIFA is determined to put on a good show, no matter the social cost. – david Zirin, author of the forthcoming book “Bad Sports: How Owners are Ruining the Games we Love”BACK TO TOP