Kinship, collegiality and witchcraft: South African perceptions of sorcery and the occult aspects of contemporary academia
Certain South African perceptions of sorcery acquire new resonance when considered in the context of present-day corporatised, managerially governed higher education. Concepts of witchcraft from elsewhere in Africa further illuminate this. Indeed, there are certain striking metaphorical parallels between distinctive trends in the contemporary market-driven academic environment and various perceptions of witchcraft. These include the connections between kinship and witchcraft; also the belief that greed,
jealousy and the selfish accumulation of material resources can be associated with sorcery. This conviction has certain points of comparison with the damaging effects of the impetus towards “individualism, competition and consumption” (Salim Vally) in higher education, stemming from broader trends in globalised corporate capitalism. Thus there are areas of commonality between certain African perceptions of sorcery and the corporatised academic environment.
Keywords: corporatisation, kinship, magic, sorcery, universities.