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?
Miriam Makeba, who died yesterday, was up there for me with Nelson Mandela as a true South African icon. Such a strong women, so sexy, so many beautiful songs to remember her by, and that voice will haunt me for ever. Even when I saw her performing at the Cape Town Jazz festival two years ago and her voice was not what it used to be, she gave me cold shivers. This is one of my favourite tracks, which I post in honour of her memory.BACK TO TOP