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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

Paying homage to a music maestro
2013-10-08

 

08 October 2013
Photo: Supplied

American singer, songwriter, composer and actor, Thomas Alan Waits (1949–), has been a major inspiration to artists, musicians, poets, writers and thinkers for almost 40 years. He is considered as one of the godfathers of grunge and poetic rock and is a master of contemporary narrative –able to weave emotion and intrigue into his stories of urban grit and rural abandonment. His sometimes jaundiced view of the underbelly of society serves as a rich source of visual imagery.

The Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery is celebrating this vanguard with the exhibition Tom Waits for No Man.

Gordon Froud, artist and senior lecturer at the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), curated and toured with the Leonard Cohen exhibition entitled Altered Piecesin 2011 and 2012. Due to the success of that exhibition, Froud decided to extend his curative activities in the direction of Tom Waits.

This exhibition is based on a roughly LP-sized circular format (30cm in diameter). Most works hang on the wall, but some artists that preferredto work in 3D, made use of the disc as a base or platform on which to build. There was no restriction on materials or approach. There was no process in selection of songs and each artist was free to use whichever lyric or section of lyrics that they choose (even if someone else had selected this too – artists seldom come up with the same solutions).

The exhibition was launched at the ABSA KKNK in April 2013 and has travelled to the UJ Art Gallery and Grande Provence Wine Estate for the Literary Festival.

The exhibition is on display at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery until 25 October 2013.

Gallery hours: 08:30 – 16:30, Monday – Friday

Enquiries: +27(0)51 401 2706 | dejesusav@ufs.ac.za

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