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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

First book on Bloemfontein published in 25 years
2008-10-21

 

During the launch of the book "Spatialities of Urban Change" are, from the left, front: Mr Malefetsane Mokoena, General Manager: Housing at the Mangaung Local Municipality and one of the co-authors of the book, Mr Amos Goliath, Executive Director: Corporate Affairs at the Mangaung Local Municipality, Ms Rothea van Biljon, Chairperson of the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut Bloemfontein; back: Prof. Lochner Marais, editor of the book from the Centre for Development Support at the UFS, and Prof. Gustav Visser, editor of the book from the Department of Geography at the UFS. Photo Stephen Collett

 The University of the Free State (UFS) has published a book on Bloemfontein for the first time in 25 years. The book, titled “Spatialities of Urban Change”, is the first South African scholarly account in book form of spatial themes on urban change in a secondary city in South Africa. The book was recently launched on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The editors of the book are Prof. Lochner Marais from the Centre for Development Support and Prof. Gustav Visser from the Department of Geography, both from the UFS. Their co-authors are five Ph.D. students in Development Studies, one Ph.D. student in Geography and one master’s student in Development Studies.

According to Prof. Visser, there is a gap in the market for new perspectives on how cities work and how urban theory can develop. This book will contribute to filling that gap. The book also manages to involve students and their research – giving them the opportunity to have their research published.

The book addresses various aspects of Bloemfontein’s spatiality and issues such as suburbanization and the subsequent decline of the central business district, the city’s tourism potential and the impact of the Volksblad Arts Festival on re-imaging the city as a place that has something to offer any visitor, are discussed among others. Other topics include the suburb Westdene and how diverse spatiality manifests itself at this scale, and white flight from the inner city areas.

“A central theme running through the book is how the urban discourse of Bloemfontein relate to the country’s metropolitan core and conversely to other secondary cities,“ says Prof. Visser.

Media Release:
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
22 October 2008

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