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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

Leadership is about people, Tsedu
2009-09-16

 
Mr Mathatha Tsedu, Head of the Journalism Academy at Media24
Photo: Dries Myburgh

Modern-day leaders have neither the inclination nor the will to lead the very people who have entrusted them with that responsibility, said Mr Mathatha Tsedu, Head of the Journalism Academy at Media24.

The former City Press editor delivered the 2nd King Moshoeshoe Memorial Lecture at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein last night.

He said the current state of leadership in South Africa was characterised by patronage and self-enrichment.

“The poorest of the poor and our affection for them extends only to public meetings where we mouth socialist slogans. But in reality we want nothing to do with them and they have to fend for themselves,” he said.

“Leadership has to be more than just the power of a mayor, premier, MEC or minister to dish out tenders to friends for projects that never get completed. Projects whose real legacy is the fact that the friend of the leader now drives a Hummer.”

He said leadership had to be about people but acknowledged the fact that it would not happen unless people themselves insisted on that.

“King Moshoeshoe teaches us that leadership is about taking decisions and taking risks. Not only as leaders but more especially as members of the community,” he said.

“We can address our critical challenges only if citizens’ groups, business, labour and broader civil society actively engage with the state to improve delivery and enforce an accountable government.”

He appealed to leaders to follow the example of King Moshoeshoe and always put people first, and involve them, in the decisions that they take.

“This is about concern for others and for self. It is about compassion in leadership and in society, it is about caring beyond own concerns. It is about being involved and engaged. These are the attributes that I feel King Moshoeshoe left us as a legacy of leadership. Leadership not only of the leaders but of the led,” he said.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
10 September 2009

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