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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

Meet our Council: Mr Rantooa Moji – passionate about the welfare of workers
2017-07-07

Description: Mr Rantooa Moji  Tags: Mr Rantooa Moji  

Mr Rantooa Moji, member of the UFS Council
Photo: Stephen Collett

Mr Rantooa Moji has recently joined the UFS Council by virtue of being chairperson of the university’s Institutional Forum (IF).  The IF’s function is to advise Council in accordance with the Higher Education Act and UFS Statute.
 
Born and bred in Qwaqwa, Mr Moji is a junior lecturer in Chemistry at the university.  He completed his BSc (Hons) in Chemistry at the then UNIN (Qwaqwa), which is now part of the UFS.  He also completed an MA (HES) at the University of the Free State.
 
Fascinated with Chemistry
“I pursued science mainly due to my school background, but I also have a keen interest in the subject.  The diverse applications of Chemistry in daily life have always fascinated me and that is why I chose to pursue it,” he says.
 
During his postgraduate studies at the UFS, Moji was exposed to education and management trends in higher education.  He has subsequently become involved with labour relations issues through the personnel union Nehawu.  He says he has a passion for the welfare of workers and therefore fulfils a number of roles in the union, including representing members in disciplinary and grievance hearings, being part of the negotiations team, and representing the union on a number of institutional committees, such as the Health Care Committee.
 
Passion for worker’s welfare
Says Mr Moji: “I feel that my experience as an academic and a union activist puts me in good stead to ensure that the views and aspirations of employees are taken into account in the Council’s deliberations and decision-making.”
 
Mr Moji is married, with two daughters and one son.

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