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.
Despite my fear of being thought a reactionary racist, I cannot but help wonder why people invoke the spirit of ubuntu to stop us talking about the MInister’s health, but no one invoked this spirit when the Minister gave advice to poor HIV positive people that inevitably led to their deaths.
Once again, this seems like a selective use of “culture” to stop us asking awkward questions. Questions such as: how many people have died because of the utterances of the Minister of Health? To what degree are we all complicit in these deaths for not speaking out, for not protesting at every meeting, for not dousing our Minister in fake blood, for not making a citizens arrest?
It might upset some people that we talk about the Minister’s health while she is sick, but perhaps it is slightly more upsetting that thousands of mostly poor South Africans have died needlesly because of her.