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?
We must also recognise the reality that this situation makes it very easy for some who might have been inspired temporarily to attach themselves to the ascendant revolution to change their positions. This includes those who might find greater comfort among, and in the positions advanced by a necessarily sophisticated opposition to the political vanguard of national democratic revolution, in the aftermath of the victory of the democratic revolution.
It also encompasses those who, for partisan reasons, might find themselves acting in collusion with the ideological opposition forces which would consciously avoid presenting themselves as opponents of the national democratic revolution, while openly positioning themselves as adversaries of the vanguard movement of the national democratic revolution.
Now I am wondering where I fit in. I am surely not one of those “enemies” who feel more comfortable with the “sophisticated opposition” than with my previously beloved ANC and has therefore felt the need to switch sides.
I don’t even believe that there is a sophisticated opposition in South Africa – unless one includes civil society opposition groups like the Treatment Action Campaign, of course. Characters in the official opposition (think Theuns Botha and Dougie Gibson) are about as sophisticated as a sheep farmer from Putsonderwater and I would feel very uncomfortable to share a room with them – let alone a party.
But now that I have called the national democratic revolution a load of codswallop, I am clearly also not an “enemy” “consciously not presenting myself as an enemy” of said revolution while opposing the ANC’s vanguard role in it.
O dear, I suppose the learned writer forgot to include those of us who are “enemies” of the ANC because we shockingly believe that the aim of political parties in our democracy should ideally be to change (for the better) the social and economic conditions under which especially poor and marginalised people live, while respecting and expanding the rights and freedoms that individuals need to even begin to make important life choices.
We are obviously enemies who, under the guise of supporting social and economic transformation of the masses of our people, wish to limit the power of the ANC to tell us what to think and say and do.
What kind of enemy of the ANC and the national democratic revolution are you?