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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

Award-winning artist and UFS intertwine
2017-06-10

Description: Nomusa Makhubu Tags: Nomusa Makhubu

Nomusa Makhubu’s work will be exhibited for the next
few weeks at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery.
Photo: Kara Schoeman

“It is this sense of ownership, or the loss thereof, that I would still like to explore.” Exploring issues of identity, and more particularly, the sensitive issue of representation through the medium of photography, is exactly what Nomusa Makhubu sets out to do in her exhibition entitled Intertwined 2005 – 2017.

The issue of self-representation
This solo exhibition is a survey of Makhubu’s practice as a lens-based artist working mainly with portraiture, performance and space-time politics. Her exhibition includes the series entitled, Trading Lies, Self-Portrait Project, Inquietude, The Flood and In Living Colour.

The exhibition, in association with Erdmann Contemporary, is on display in the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery at the University of the Free State from 24 May to 23 June 2017. She has exhibited in Africa, Europe, the US, and China.

Throughout this exhibition, Makhubu focuses on the issue of self-representation, but also brings in geographical locations to question the assumed universality and objectivity of time and place.

Not only an artist, but a writer too
As an award-winning artist, academic and a full-time lecturer at Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, Makhubu is a force to be reckoned with in the art world. She has also contributed her writing to Critical Arts, African Arts, the Journal of African Cultural Studies and Third Text, as well as other book projects and catalogues.

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