In what is clearly a case of a joke going too far, the the University of Venda (Univen) has been compelled to release a statement denying a widely shared satire article that said it was introducing a degree in witchcraft.
The story first arose last Monday when Ihlaya news posted an article to say the university was going to offer a degree in witchcraft. While it said at the end of the article that it was indeed complete fiction, many readers may not have got that far. Instead they would have read of how the classes would be conducted at night, some classes would require students to attend naked and that the university was having trouble finding a suitable venue that “should be remote and robust because the lightning and thunder cause can cause electricity outrage [sic]”.
The university issued an official statement to distance itself from such obvious fake news, adding: “We reiterate our disappointment and express a serious concern to those people who are going around spreading such fake news. It pains us to realise that there are people who still degrade our universities and fail to understand our role in the Higher Education spectrum. Rural based Universities like Univen, have made a great contribution in producing leaders and can boast global scholars that emerged from these rural villages.”
The university went on to encourage people interested in studying there to look at their website at www.univen.ac.za in order to see all the programmes that are on offer.
While it seems that few people online actually believed the false headlines, some Twitter users took that opportunity to poke some fun at the ‘news’.
– Read the full statement at the Univen press office