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.
The indignation of ‘Je suis Charlie’ and the momentary confection of national identity – carefully stage-managed by the government – were overwhelming. People find public grief exhilarating, as we know from the death of Diana. In the avalanche of sentiment, Todd argues, France lost sight of the fact that ‘the right to blaspheme against your own religion’ is not the same as blaspheming ‘against someone else’s’, especially ‘the religion of a group that is weak and discriminated against’.BACK TO TOP