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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

Academic volunteers time on community radio
2017-12-25


 Description: Dr Marian Human-Nel Tags: Dr Marian Human-Nel 

Dr Marian Human-Nel
Photo: Supplied

Superior Scholarship. Human Embrace. Institutional Distinctiveness. Emergent Leadership. Public Service.

These are the core values underpinning both the university’s academic and human projects. It is the last one, public service, that resonates well with Dr Marian Human-Nel. She does her part as a radio presenter and news reader on Maluti FM 97.1, a Bethlehem-based community radio.

“As a community radio station, we are not only responsible for entertaining and informing the public, but we also do a lot of community fundraising projects. We also do a lot of wellbeing activities in the Eastern Free State,” said Dr Human-Nel, Subject Head and Lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans, Dutch, German and French on the Qwaqwa Campus.

Sharing of information and knowledge
Dr Human-Nel volunteers her services as presenter of two programmes. “I present Kollig in which I invite my Qwaqwa Campus colleagues and professionals in the community to talk about their specific fields of interest and research. The focus here is on information and sharing knowledge. We have a slot called ‘This Week in History’ written and prepared by my colleague from the History department.”

Another show that Dr Human-Nel presents is called Fluit-Fluit Storietyd on which she reads and does voice performance of Afrikaans short stories and poems with specific music. “The Fluit-Fluit programme informs and entertains through cultural activities,” she said.

Maluti FM broadcasts over a 160-kilometre radius around Bethlehem and is also available online.

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