An institution of higher learning in United Kingdom (University of Exeter) is set to start offering a degree in Witchcraft and Magic, a field that has for long, been of high interest in different cultures/societies.
The course trailblazer at the university, Prof Emily Selove, says it will kick start in September 2024, offering interested students an opportunity to study the history and impact of witchcraft and magic around the world on society and science.
The course duration is projected to run for 1 academic year.
“A recent surge in interest in magic and the occult inside and outside academia lies at the heart of the most urgent questions of our society. Decolonization, the exploration of alternative epistemologies, feminism, and anti-racism are at the core of this programme.” She said.
What it means for Uganda
In Uganda, the age-old beliefs in witchcraft continue to exert a profound and often destructive influence on society, as communities grapple with the complex consequences of these deep-rooted traditions.
Witchcraft accusations have had far-reaching impacts, affecting both individuals and communities, while also presenting significant challenges to the country’s legal and human rights framework.
The emergence of a university degree in witchcraft, at the accessibility of Ugandan nationals, raises questions on whether it is a legitimate effort to preserve cultural heritage or a commercial endeavor to exploit the curiosity of the beneficiaries. A section of concerned citizens suggest this could encourage a superficial or commercialized approach to deeply rooted traditions.
This move could be just a point of celebration for traditional healers who for long, have been marginalized as agents of evil practices.
Overtime, Ugandan varsities have taken up education curricular from foreign (colonial) nations in different fields and somehow, this author believes that the witchcraft studies could come knocking on our doors soon, all thanks to the thirst that we have to scale up the African culture, history, and values which don’t fall far from the witchcraft background.
With a belief amongst Ugandans that witches possess the power to bring misfortune, disease, and death to their communities, the hope remains that increased education, awareness, and legal measures will help protect the rights and well-being of those accused of witchcraft. (Well at least they’ve found some kind of solace for their business)