Website ihlaya news published a story on Monday with the headline: “University of Venda to introduce witchcraft course, classes will include lightning and thunder” and said the course was already being piloted with two student volunteers.
All classes will be attended at night, with some requiring students to attend while completely naked, it further claimed.
It further quoted a “head of faculty” as saying: “We hope the NSFAS will agree to provide funding for future students who are interested in the course, from what I’ve seen so far, it’s way beyond science. These people can open portals to other dimensions that are not known by scientists. We decided the zombifying will not be offered because it might spark outrage.”
The website, however, disclosed at the bottom of the article that it was “total fiction”.
“Press share button to calm your titties,” it concluded.
The article has been shared more than 60,000 times.
In an attempt to stop the fake news from spreading, the university has distanced itself from the article.
Univen vice-chancellor and principal Dr Bernard Nthambeleni said: “The University of Venda only offers programmes that are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and approved by DHET, including those that are professional degrees. The university offers programmes that are funded by the department of higher education and training and registered with South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
“As an institution, we have mechanisms in place to ensure that the programmes that are offered are of high standards and that they contribute towards the development of our SADC region, as expressed in our vision. Therefore, it is factually incorrect to allege that we are in the process of introducing such a programme. The university strongly condemns such misleading allegations.”
Nthambeleni further advised students intending to study at the university to visit its website to see the degrees offered.
“We reiterate our disappointment and express a serious concern to those people who are going around spreading such fake news. Such poorly thought perceptions should be discouraged in our society.”