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?
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