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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

Dr Johann Rossouw receives 2015 ATKV SA Academy Award for his work in Philosophy
2015-12-18

Description: Dr Johann Rossouw  Tags: Dr Johann Rossouw

Dr Johann Rossouw

Dr Johann Rossouw, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Free State, was recently selected as one on the winners of the 2015 ATKV SA (Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging) Academy Awards. Dr Rossouw was one of only six winners that were honoured nationwide for their academic articles.

ATKV SA Academy Award

This award has immense value for Dr Rossouw, since “it’s proof that original endemic thinking is still valid today, despite the massive pressure on Afrikaans. It also undermines the parochial view that English is the only language in which thought takes place.”

The annual ATKV SA Academy Awards honours six Afrikaans articles that are published in accredited journals in a specific year. Four of the prizes are awarded for articles in the Humanities and two for articles in the Natural Sciences. The South African Academy for Science and Arts handled the selection process.

First theological-philosophical criticism on Stiegler

Dr Rossouw was honoured for two articles in the Humanities that were published on Litnet Academic. The articles deal with the theological-philosophical approaches of the first two volumes of Bernard Stiegler's influential La Technique et letemps (Technics and Time) trilogy. “Stiegler wrote the trilogy in conversation with Heidegger's Being and Time,” Dr Rossouw says. “With Heidegger claiming that the technique closes off our world, Stiegler argues that the technique helps to unlock and establish our world as a unique kind of memory in certain conditions. That is why Stiegler argues that the technique is the life lived through other means than life itself.”

The essence of Dr Rossouw's criticism against Stiegler is that he “pursues Christianity through means other than Christianity itself. To my knowledge, this is the first theological-philosophical criticism on Stiegler, and to all intents and purposes the first criticism on his work, with one or two exceptions.”

 

 

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