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.
If the process of forgiveness is to be concluded, moreover, it requires of the wrongdoer that he understand that he has done wrong. It must therefore be preceded by remorse and then by self-forgiveness — for surely one can only truly accept forgiveness from others when one has forgiven oneself? Most whites have not begun to take that first step. Former president FW De Klerk, a formidable strategist but not a statesman, set the pattern of evasion that still characterises white sentiment today. There has been no apology — just equivocation and amnesia, followed directly by the blather of the “open opportunity society”. When the issue of responsibility is pushed, Afrikaners and English cynically point the finger at each other for a system from which they benefited together. – Anthony Butler in Business DayBACK TO TOP