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.
Most curious, though, was the reaction of the middle-classes, Malema’s traditional enemies, as his commitment became clear, and the scope of the ANCYL’s protest ambitions became apparent. They didn’t suddenly agree that nationalising mines or expropriating farmland would be a good idea. They did, however, express admiration, even respect – something that would have seemed unlikely in the extreme the day before. .. A little bit of sympathy can be a powerful thing. Where the chattering classes were dismissive, at best, of Malema before, a kernel of doubt has been planted. Could he be worth listening to? Is there perhaps sense to be divined in the mess that is his ideology? It won’t last, probably, but getting people who normally wouldn’t is the point of any protest. Even if Malema is utterly ignored by the government, and the JSE, and the Chamber of Mines, he’s already succeeded in a small way. Mostly, though, Malema has suddenly become an inspirational political figure, somebody who achieved a tangible and difficult goal through sheer determination. There aren’t many others we can say that about, and none who can reach disenchanted young people as Malema does. That, too, is a lever of power. – Phillip de Wet at Daily MaverickBACK TO TOP