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.
The naked president, oddly enough, was rewarded with glowing press coverage. In part, this was the product of corny theatrics: youth league president Julius Malema was supposedly disciplined by the father of the nation and then comforted by its mother. The leader’s purported “success” was also built on ill- informed speculation before the council that a challenge to Zuma’s authority might occur at a congress located in KwaZulu-Natal. More pertinently, the council provided an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of Zuma’s campaign to intimidate the press. The positive reporting of his self-serving speeches — and the praise heaped upon him for properly rehearsing a speech before trying to deliver it — indicate that this campaign may be having its intended effect. – ANthony Butler in Business DayBACK TO TOP