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 citizens, rich or poor, black or white, we are excluded from the heart of the processes that create all levels of government around us. None of us is more excluded than the migrant Tembu and Pondo miners of places like Marikana. They have literally nothing, for not even the land on which they leave their families behind can ever belong to them, thanks to a disgraceful political bargain made by the ANC with traditional leaders, entrenching the power of chiefs to control the allocation of land in territories under their authority. The decision may have bought the ANC a degree of political support in Transkei for a decade, but it cannot possibly be fair or democratic to make a man or woman incapable of owning (or trading) the land they were born on. Apartheid made the accident of birth a burden for life. The ANC still does the same to people born on tribal lands. – Peter Bruce in Business DayBACK TO TOP