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?
As a nation we seem to have lowered the bar on ethics, our moral high ground and values. Politicians and state officials are awarded government tenders directly or via proxies. The ruling party – which gets a lion’s share of funding for political parties – quibbles with its alliance partners over its involvement with a company that does business with a state enterprise, notwithstanding an adverse finding by the Public Protector. South Africa is suffering serious reputational damage and the mood in the country is pessimistic. Our government must seriously attend to the country’s brand and reputation. This must entail the governing party and its subsidiaries saying and doing the right things and holding on to its values that have made our country great. – Makhosini Nkosi in SowetanBACK TO TOP