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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

Multilingualism and exclusion to be discussed
2007-11-27

 
 Some of the UFS staff who will be attending the colloquium on multilinguisim and exclusion in Antwerp, Belgium are, from the left, front: Prof. Theo du Plessis and Ms Susan Lombaard; back: Prof. Johan Lubbe and Mr Roelof Geyser. All are from the Unit for Language Management.
 
Multilingualism and exclusion to be discussed

Five members of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Unit for Language Management will be taking part in an international colloquium at the University of Antwerp in Belgium on the theme: “Multilingualism and exclusion – perspectives on language and society” this week.

“During this week’s colloquium, approximately twenty South African and Flemish colleagues will reflect on the complex relationships within multilingual communities, where a variety of factors can contribute to the inclusion or exclusion of individuals or communities. Some of the papers will focus on policy measures (“from above”) with regard to the relative position of languages in a particular state, and the impact of these policy measures on the lives of language users. Others will investigate perceptions and “appropriation” (“from below”) by the same language user. In view of the multiple points of departure, the colloquium should contribute towards a better understanding of the dynamics within multilingual communities,” said Prof. Theo du Plessis, Director of the Unit for Language Management at the UFS.

“To give expression to the theme of multilingualism and exclusion, lectures will be presented in three languages, namely Afrikaans, English and Dutch. Several postgraduate students (from South Africa and Flanders) will also have an opportunity to report on investigations they are conducting within the framework of their master’s degree and doctoral studies,” said Prof. Du Plessis.

The colloquium is a follow-up of an international symposium held at the UFS during April 2006 in which a considerable number of outstanding scholars from various countries participated.

According to Prof. Du Plessis, the proceedings of the symposium held last year will be released in book form as part of the unit’s publication series “Studies in Language Policy in South Africa”, published by Van Schaik Publishers.

This sixth issue in the series entitled: “Multilingualism and Exclusion. Policy, Practice, Prospects” will be released tonight (26 November 2007) by the Permanent Deputy of the Province of Antwerp at a prestigious event during the colloquium. The issue was edited by Prof. Du Plessis, Prof. Pol Cuvelier (University of Antwerp), Dr Michael Meeuwis (University of Ghent) and Ms Lut Teck (Institute for Higher Education and the Arts in Brussels).

The UFS will be represented by Prof. Du Plessis, Prof. Johan Lubbe, Ms Susan Lombaard and Mr Roelof Geyser of the Unit for Language Management, as well as Prof. Jackie Naudé of the Department of Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice. Representatives from the universities of Pretoria, Johannesburg, North West and the Monash University in Johannesburg will also be participating in the colloquium.

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
26 November 2007

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