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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

Pres Steyn turns pink in anticipation of Vryfees
2014-06-06

Video clip
Live streaming
 

Australian artist Cigdem Aydemir vacuum packed the Pres Steyn monument on the Bloemfontein Campus’s Red Plain – in pink. Aydemir’s project, ‘Plastic Histories’, forms part of a public art project that encourages us to evaluate public monuments in their historical context. 

By vacuum packing monuments, Aydemir alludes to their significance and preservation. At the same time, though, it reveals the nature of their contentious and gendered historical function. This is because most monuments in post-colonial countries typically celebrate men’s achievements in serving their nations.

In response, this project acknowledges the contribution of women from all races, communities and sexual orientations to the grand narrative of a post-apartheid South Africa.

Aydemir is also developing an app in collaboration with Australian artist Warren Armstrong. This will be used for augmented reality viewing of three city monuments – those of President Brand, General De Wet and General Hertzog. This means that visitors will be able to hold a smart phone or iPad in front of the monuments and view the monuments as if vacuum packed in pink plastic.

In conjunction with the public art project there will be an exhibition of digitally manipulated photographs of nineteen-century and contemporary male monuments in Bloemfontein. These photos will be exhibited at the Johannes Stegmann Gallery at the UFS Sasol Library from 15 July – 1 August 2014.

Public tours on the Bloemfontein Campus and into the city will take place on:

• Tuesday 15 July at 11:00,
• Wednesday 16 July at 14:00, and
• Saturday 19 July at 11:00.

Aydemir’s ‘Plastic Histories’ public art project is part of the UFS Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD) and the Vryfees arts festival’s partnership with the Australian-based SituateArt in Festivals initiative. This partnership is managed by the Salamanca Arts Centre in Tasmania. 

Read more articles about this project:

POZIBLE launch (pdf document)
Media release: 17 June 2014: Art Stars Revealed (pdf document)
PIAD/PIKO - http://bit.ly/1gazQTV
OPENLab - http://bit.ly/1hzguUG
CAD Forum - http://bit.ly/1sNvtRB


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