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Machakos University fights rumours on witchcraft degree course

Machakos University has denied reports circulating on social media posts claiming the institution of higher learning had launched a Bachelor’s Degree in Witchcraft.

The post quotes the vice-chancellor of the university — who is not named — as having said the four-year course had already attracted tens of applicants ahead of its rollout this year.

Adam Shisia, the director of corporate affairs in a statement on Wednesday, rubbished the reports terming them fake and urged members of the public to ignore them.

“This is to inform the public that the trending information concerning the degree in witchcraft is false and malicious and should be disregarded. This trending information is therefore ill motive and the public and all our stakeholders are requested to ignore and treat it as a fake rumor,” said Mr Shisia.

A basic internet search shows there is no such course listed on the university’s official website.

Witchcraft is a strong part of Machakos County’s history and this could explain why this university was the butt of the joke.

A 2011 African studies textbook, for example, explains how in the mid-1950s in Machakos, colonial authorities tried to cleanse the practice by requesting that Kamba witches and witchdoctors publicly renounce witchcraft and surrender their paraphernalia to be burned.

“In return, witches and witchdoctors could expect amnesty from the government and a clean slate from their neighbors,” the book’s summary reads.

Last year, the institution denied similar rumours that it had launched a Bachelor’s Degree in Witchcraft course which will be under the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Be careful

Posted by Machakos University on Saturday, December 19, 2020

The post which was doing rounds indicated that the course was awaiting approval by the Commission for University Education.

Shisia at the time said it was a misinterpretation of a unit in a Master’s course which was “captured wrongly as a course by the media and wrongly escalated as so”.

“The unit exists in a course but there is no course in which you will say that a student will graduate in a degree in witchcraft,” Shisia said.

He added that the curricula of most universities across the world have units in art courses referring to witchcraft, “but they are not said to be offering courses in witchcraft”.

A search of “witchcraft” on the university website shows a Masters of Arts course called “Religion, Witchcraft, Magic, and Science”.