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?
When it comes to the charges [against Julius Malema] themselves, and the allegation of the abuse of state institutions to neutralise political enemies, the best I can offer is to remind the nation that absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence. What may become even more important to remember at some point in the evolution of the Malema saga is that, as we say in Xhosa, there are times when the victim (Malema or Zuma) is actually cut by his own knife. Furthermore, the best way of insulating oneself against the manipulation of investigative, prosecutorial and judicial processes is to avoid committing crime, especially if one is a protagonist in ANC internal battles. – Aubrey Matshiqi in his Business Day columnBACK TO TOP