There are only 109 vacancies and interested students have been invited to apply for admission. You might get through easily if you are a witch or can demonstrate a psychic ability and some extra sensory perception (ESP). If you are not a witch but have the spiritual nosiness and intellectual curiosity to delve into the mystical world of human birds, you are encouraged to apply. You might learn a thing or two about how familiar creatures transmogrify into unfamiliar spirits and fool those who taxi the earth.
While the admission requirements for students are generally relaxed, lecturers aspiring to teach witchcraft studies must necessarily be witches or possess some supernatural powers. They will be tested and provoked to demonstrate their witchcraft skills, particularly regarding how they intend to help poverty alleviation through the application of spiritual methods. Non-resident South African witches and wizards who meet the requirements will be assisted with visas and permanent resident permits.
Solving traffic with witchcraft
This special degree programme is being promoted by South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, who made the announcement after a meeting with student union representatives. He assured: “There is a lot we can learn from witchcraft, like how they fly in that winnowing basket. I imagine if we can learn that skill, it will eradicate traffic jams and everyone will just get into their baskets and fly. It will also mean we will not be importing fuel anymore.”
At this rate, South Africa will soon be importing container loads of witches from other countries to solve social and economic problems that require strategic thinking and pragmatic innovation. We expect the city and country planning engineers in Johannesburg and Soweto to fix their traffic congestion, instead of soliciting winnowing baskets from witches. The education minister’s prescription is a palpable testament of our faith in the supernatural. It also explains why we are so poor and backward.
In Africa, we believe in witchcraft as a belief system while we maintain our faith in Christianity, Islam and other religions. Our idea of the witch is a person, usually a woman, who possesses diabolic supernatural or paranormal powers which are deployed to harm, frustrate and destroy. Men who have those powers, wizards, are said to be more powerful and dangerous. They may have bigger winnowing baskets.
Witch camps in Ghana
The belief in witchcraft is deeply rooted in traditional cosmology. It is usually motivated by fear, envy, jealousy and insecurity. In Gendered Injustice: A comparative Analysis of Witchcraft in Ghana and Nepal, Adinkra and Adikhari (2014) suggest that some 90% of Ghanaians believe in witchcraft and in the power of witches. You cannot wish witchcraft away even if you do not believe witches exist. Your neighbours do and might soon accuse you of being one. Once the fingers point at you, it is confession time. In Northern Ghana, accused witches are beaten, humiliated and banished to witch camps.
Presently, Ghana is the only country in the world where witch camps exist. There are five such camps in the Northern Region: Kukuo, Nabuli, Kpatinga, Gambaga and Gnani camps. The sixth camp, Bonyasi in the Central Gonja District, was closed down in December 2014 by ActionAid Ghana and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. The inmates have since been reintegrated into their original communities while development stakeholders led by ActionAid continue to sensitise communities against witchcraft accusations and other cultural and traditional acts of violence.
The existence of the witch camps in Ghana is a big dent on our human rights record and our democratic practice. There are currently more than 500 alleged witches and some 42 wizards in the five camps, who live with their dependents, numbering some 445 children. The camps are not part of the traditional institutions of the Northern Region; they sprang up by default to serve as safe havens for accused women who were usually beaten and chased away, usually to pacify community anger. In the past, and even in present times, some have been lynched.
These are the things that engage our thinking in the 21st Century while our friends in South Korea and Malaysia are soaring high in technological innovations and economic development. Being people of faith, Africans have fertile minds for imagination, speculation and supposition. Many of the women accused of witchcraft are only victims of wild imaginations–born out of people’s intellectual bankruptcy and emotional immaturity. Family members and children have accused their mothers of witchcraft because they appeared in their dreams. It is as silly as that.
In another silly instant, an innocent woman was accused of possessing diabolical powers for selling a piece of cloth at a price a little dearer than the prevailing market rate. Her neighbour raised an alarm because he felt cheated by the old woman. She was chased out from her house by an angry mob who also blamed their problems on her witchcraft. Successful women farmers have been accused of witchcraft for having a bigger yield. Gender advocates continue to wrestle with this kind of gender injustice.
We are not sure which aspects of this tall unintelligible list the South African universities will assign their students for academic investigation. We do not also know how the grading will be done and whether the end of semester exams will involve flying in the winnowing basket or turning into any animal of one’s choice. If there are practical attachment opportunities, where are they tenable and how will they be coordinated?
Jobs for Bsc in Witchcraft
What are the employment opportunities for a young graduate who holds a Bsc degree in witchcraft from a modern university? As robots threaten to take the place of factory workers and computerised cars do away with human drivers and wheel along by themselves using google maps, the employment situation in both white and blue colour jobs is becoming sickening. If a good degree from the Ivy Leagues does not guarantee a job these days, how much can a degree in witchcraft do?
It sounds funny that Minister Nzimande hopes to solve traffic congestion with witchcraft but his prognosis reflects how we have done many things in Africa. A president loses elections and decides not to vacate his seat until thousands die in protests. A public official steals money meant for social protection interventions and watches the poor die of simple ailments. Next, he frustrates progress in public business because his selfish interest is not served. Maybe we should all sign up for the Bsc in Witchcraft and fly in our winnowing baskets. There is a lot of witchcraft in Africa so let’s fly out of here.
Source: Ghana/todaygh.com/Tissues of the Issues with Kwesi Tawiah Benjamin