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.
Most people have experienced some kind of recourse to instant tradition, whether from insecure teachers or peremptory bosses seeking to assert an unearned authority. Much of South African history might be summed up in that thoughtless and condescending attitude. For more than 350 years, the self-righteous, largely unquestioned trinity of culture, custom and tradition was stridently employed to justify not only rapacious European conquest, but white supremacy, which culminated in legislated white lordship. Many whites have still not grown out of this racial delusion. That tradition, of whatever hue or culture, is routinely invoked to sanctify power. Pallo Jordan pointed out on these pages that this year marks the centenary of the Natives Land Act. It was not only the infamous culmination of statutory robbery, but a triumph of invented “tradition”: white sovereignty wilfully destroying a long tradition of thriving peasant farming. – Bryan Rostron in Business DayBACK TO TOP