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?
“Sihamba noMsholozi, Sihamba noPresident (We are going with Msholozi, we are going with the president)”, Cosatu delegates sang on the closing day of their 11th national congress. The song indicated that the delegates supported Jacob Zuma’s (Msholozi is his clan name) bid for a second term as ANC leader at the ruling party’s national conference in Mangaung in December. Then, later on Thursday, they bestowed the “worst employer” award to Aurora Empowerment Systems, whose directors include Khulubuse Zuma, the president’s nephew, for breaking “every record in terms of dodging responsibility” and “starving workers”. It was one of many bizarre contractions of the four-day Cosatu congress, which the federation’s re-elected president Sdumo Dlamini opened on Monday. – Ranjeni Munusamy on Daily MaverickBACK TO TOP