Contact details: +27 58 718 5098

Afromontane Research Unit

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The Qwaqwa Campus is located in the mountainous region of Qwaqwa, and is ideally placed to promote interdisciplinary research on the sustainable development of the area. Recognising the importance of montane environments is underdeveloped in Africa, and these areas face important developmental challenges concerning water supply, tourism, biodiversity, ecologically sustainable agricultural practices, and climate change.


Research in Chemistry focuses mainly on the investigation of structure-property relationships in polymer blends, composites, and nanocomposites. We do a lot of work on polymer/wax blends and polymer composites. More than 140 papers were published in international peer-reviewed journals, and a significant number of PhD and MSc students successfully graduated from the group. Preparative photochemistry of anti-AIDS drugs is an exciting new field of research offered in Chemistry.

Computer Science and Informatics

The Department of Computer Science and Informatics is involved in developing mobile applications in various public and private sectors. For example, public-transport mobile applications for the region and other developing communities, as well as assisting local hospitals with Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems and feasibility studies to make them mobile. Our research is community-oriented and aims to provide solutions to local communities, using mobile technologies.


The Department of Geography puts a strong emphasis on montane research. We research environmental problems in the Maluti-a-Phofung area. This research includes in situ and ex situ conservation of paleontological resources with the aim to set up a GIS-based environmental management system, as well as the role of local cultures in promoting regional tourism.


The Department of Physics places emphasis on changing and improving community perceptions on electricity and electronics. A major part of our research has been in the field of solid-state physics and specifically on nanophosphors and other luminescent nanoparticles.

Plant Sciences

The Department of Plant Sciences has created an inventory of the wild plants in the Qwaqwa region. The initial small collection of herbarium specimens at the Lere la Tshepe Campus has grown into a comprehensive herbarium with its own room in the Science Building. We are involved in research on medicinal plants and in creating a national database on wetland vegetation. Several publications have resulted from this research.


The Department of Sociology has been conducting and publishing research on human-scale development. Our teaching, as well as the postgraduate work done by students and staff, incorporates youth inclusion, sustainable livelihoods, and empowerment from an asset-based perspective.

Zoology and Entomology

The Department of Zoology and Entomology is involved in projects related to parasitology, immunology, and animal conservation. Our research involves, among others, canids, bat-eared foxes, leopards, malarial parasites, and immunology of laboratory rats. Several MSc students and a postdoctoral research fellow are involved in these projects and a number of publications have resulted from the research.


Rurality and rural education have, in many societies across the world, been perceived from a deficit frame of reference. Our research seeks to profile rural learning ecologies as sustainable spaces that require the reciprocal assistance of social justice, resilience, sustainability, and development. Furthermore, we aim to unleash positive and powerful untold stories about rurality and rural education. We host an annual Sustainable Rural Learning Ecologies (SuRLEc) colloquium as platform for stimulating research and disseminating findings.



Qwaqwa Campus
Private Bag X13
+27 58 718 5000

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