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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. 


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Land reform and land issues key drivers for Dr Rory Pilossof
2017-12-25

Description: Dr Rory Pilossof  Tags: Dr Rory Pilossof  

Dr Rory Pilossof is a senior lecturer in
Economics at the UFS, a postdoctoral fellow
in the ISG, and a Research Fellow
at the University of Kent in the UK.
Photo: Charl Devenish

 

Dr Rory Pilossof is a senior lecturer in Economics at the University of the Free State (UFS), a postdoctoral fellow in the International Studies Group at the UFS, and a Research Fellow at the University of Kent in the UK.

He became interested in his research field when he studied land reform and land issues in Zimbabwe for his PhD at the University of Sheffield. From there, his research interests have expanded to look at other issues connected to land, such as whiteness and labour.

Issue of land reform
Dr Pilossof's study field links up with the important issue of land reform in Southern Africa, due to its past colonialism and post-colonial politics of land and land ownership. These intersect with a wide range of labour issues that are pressing in the region. He has a keen interest in elite transitions and changes in economic structure in Southern Africa since the 1960s.

Dr Pilossof was nominated to the South African Young Academy of Science in 2017, and received an NRF Y1 rating during 2017. He is also a member of the Amsterdam-based International Institute for Social History’s ‘Global Collaboratory on the History of Labour Relations’. He is a participant in the Leverhulme Trust-funded initiative Comparative History of Political Engagement in Western and African Societies Programme at the University of Sheffield.

 

Alternative ways of looking at change
Dr Pilossof's primary research focuses on issues of land, labour, and changing social and economic structures in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He is also interested in finding alternative ways of looking at change. To this end, he has studied various newspapers and periodicals in the region.

Currently, he spends most of his research time as part of a three-year British Academy-funded Advanced Newton Fellowship into labour relations and occupational structures. In future, he wants to expand his research in the labour field by looking at labour and migration in the region over the course of the 20th century.


 

 



 

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