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?
I obviously don’t know whether in fact there is a plan to slap Ramaphosa aside, say after he has helped the ANC to victory in 2014. However, I would be entirely unsurprised; just as I would be unsurprised if we are witnessing such a “slapping aside” of Zwelinzima Vavi. What do Zuma, Zuma and Sisulu have in common that they don’t share with Vavi and Ramaphosa? The first three were immersed in the exile and prison culture of the ANC, of the bitter war of survival, where myriad decisions were made in the deepest secrecy and then defended with one’s life and sometimes with the lives of others. These were decisions of war councils and political military committees and often dealt in life and death, and routinely involved breaking many laws that had nothing do with Apartheid and political repression. When you have stood together in such an enterprise and never baulked and you’ve kept the faith – you might be trusted with the undoubtedly distasteful task of keeping ex-president Jacob Zuma safe from prosecution – “For the Movement comrade, for our country”. – Nic BorainBACK TO TOP