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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

Postdoctoral fellow at ISG focuses on environmental and human conflicts
2017-12-12


Description: Dr Noel Ndumeya  Tags: Dr Noel Ndumeya  

Dr Noel Ndumeya, postdoctoral research fellow in the ISG.
Photo: Charl Devenish


 

Dr Noel Ndumeya is a born historian who became interested in his research field through reading the works of historians while still at secondary school. Dr Ndumeya feels it is important to study the relationship between societies, institutions, and their interactions with the environment. This might help societies to understand the present clashes between humans and the environment, providing insight into future developments.

His specific research field is the environmental history of Southern Africa, with an additional interest in the land and agricultural history of the region.

Dr Ndumeya has worked as a History lecturer at Mutare Teachers’ College, the Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College in Zimbabwe, and at the University of Zimbabwe.

His present research, which is being conducted under the auspices of the International Studies Group (ISG) at the UFS, focuses on wildlife resources and people-vs-parks conflicts in Southern Africa. His future research plans include comparative histories of land, agriculture, and nature reserves in Southern Africa.

 

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