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.
Malema, to a limited degree, ‘stood in’ for an African-nationalist tradition that attempted to oppose the rise to dominance of this peculiar bond between the sinister tribal chauvinist, strongman, big-man, populist Jacob Zuma and the SACP – held together with that reliable old glue of rank opportunism. Sure, Malema was a manipulative populist and looter of the worst stripe. However, it is impossible to avoid that ultimately, he was urged or pushed forward to fight Zuma and the surprising SACP advances by a group that could broadly be categorised as constituting an African nationalist tradition within the ANC (a tradition that would, over a span of years, have included individuals as diverse as Mandela, Tambo, Mbeki, Modise and Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma). He ‘stood in’ for this shattered and directionless group as it gradually tried to pull itself back together – which it inevitably will, because it is and always has been the heart of the ANC. – Nic Borain in the Daily Maverick on the campaign against Zwelenzima VaviBACK TO TOP