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.
It is hard to address all the structural problems and inequalities in such a short time. Still, you need to ask yourselves some uncomfortable questions: Why is South Africa’s education system underperforming? Why are the rates of illiteracy so high? What has caused the culture of non-attendance and resistance to learning? How has such disparity in the allocation of resources been allowed to occur? How can the inequities in the system be resolved so that every South African child has equal access to quality education? How can the teachers’ union be motivated to drive efforts towards positive change? Those questions need to be addressed if South Africa’s hard-fought democracy is to be sustained for generations to come. – Mary Robinson in the Nelson Mandela Lecture.BACK TO TOP