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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

Prof Marais awarded the first UFS Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship
2015-03-19

Prof Kobus Marais

Prof Kobus Marais, from the Department of Linguistics and Language Practice, was recently awarded the UFS Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship for 2014.

The prize, awarded for its first time in 2014, consists of an inscribed certificate of honour with a monetary award of R50 000 paid into Marais’s research entity. The book for which Marais received this award is Translation Theory and Development Studies: A Complex Theory Approach (2014, Routledge, New York).

“It falls within the discipline of translation studies, but it is actually an interdisciplinary approach, linking translation studies and development studies,” says Marais.

Therefore, it aims to provide a philosophical underpinning to translation, and relate translation to development.

“The second aim flows from the first section’s argument that societies emerge out of, amongst others, complex translational interactions amongst individuals,” Marais says. “It will do so by conceptualising translation from a complexity and emergence point of view, and by relating this view on emergent semiotics to some of the most recent social research.”

It fulfils its aim further by providing empirical data from the South African context concerning the relationship between translation and development. The book intends to be interdisciplinary in nature, and to foster interdisciplinary research and dialogue by relating the newest trends in translation theory, i.e. agency theory in the sociology of translation, to development theory within sociology. 

“Data are drawn from fields that have received very little if any attention in translation studies, i.e. local economic development, the knowledge economy, and the informal economy, says Marais.”

The UFS Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship was initiated in 2014 to bestow recognition on any permanent staff member of the UFS for outstanding publications which consist of research published as an original book, on the condition that the greater part (50% or more) of the book has not been published previously. This stimulates the production of significant and original contributions of international quality by our staff. In this way, the UFS is striving, through a series of award-winning books, to enhance the quality of specialised works published by our staff members.

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