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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

Kovsie’s short film in top 10 at Jozi Film Festival
2017-08-15

Description: The Ascension Tags: The Ascension, Dieter du Plessis, Kovsie student, Jozi Film festival, Discover Networks Africa  

The public can now vote for Dieter du Plessis’
short film, The Ascension, in the Don’t Stop Wondering
competition at the Jozi Film Festival. Photo: Supplied

An outdoor running adventure, a passion for filmmaking and a scenic environment is what made Dieter du Plessis create the adrenaline-driven short film The Ascension.

Dieter, a second year BSc Quantity Surveying student, made the film, which is in the top 10 of the Don’t Stop Wondering competition at the Jozi Film Festival, in partnership with Discovery Networks Africa. “I always had a passion for filmmaking and when a friend informed me about the competition, I just had to enter,” Dieter said.

The Ascension follows trail runner, Simeon du Toit, across a mountainous landscape leaping and running over rugged terrain. Simeon also provides the voice-over that explains the essentials of mountain climbing. Simeon is a keen climber and was the perfect casting choice as he is familiar with the area. “The competition wants to embrace the African spirit, so I wanted to shoot outside to truly capture the African landscapes.”

The Ascension first aired on the Discovery Channel on DStv channel 121 on 1 August 2017. It will air again on 17 and 23 August 2017 at 13:35 and 20:00 respectively. The competition closes on 30 August 2017.

 

To vote for The Ascension, go to the Discovery Africa website.

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