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.
You dream one night about walking maskless in the deep cool green of a forest, of inhaling the smell of pine, of damp rich soil and moss. When the lockdown eases and you’re allowed outside, you take your child to a public forest stream in an upscale neighbourhood with all this and more. There are tall oak trees with old knotted trunks, a field of bright, sun-dappled, dew-soaked grass. The world is more beautiful than you could have hoped or remembered. And then you see to your dismay that other people have had the same idea, that other people have wanted the outside, longed for this soft, damp green. You stare at them, willing them away. Your six year old turns to you, his new lessons learned and says, ‘There are too many people here. We should go home.’BACK TO TOP