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?
The suggestion that the chief value that Ramaphosa adds to Lonmin is connectedness to the government will deepen the impression that if you are black and want to make it in business, you had better be politically connected. That makes it a lot more difficult to encourage the rise of black people who have a talent for business rather than politics. Signalling that black people are assets to large companies only if they can open doors to the government also makes it much less likely that our politics will be about public service rather than greed. Much of today’s political jockeying is about access to resources. But, while much of the debate assumes that people are looking for public money through tenders and the like, often the motive is to access private wealth. If the message reaching ambitious black people is that private-sector opportunities are more likely if you are politically connected, it is not surprising that part of the political game becomes how to gain a position that will be attractive to companies. – Steven FriedmanBACK TO TOP