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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

CED holds Family Math and Science summit
2009-10-06

 

At the summit were, from the left: Ms Lorraine Botha(CED); Susan Koen (Coordinator: Frances Baard, Northern Cape); Prof Daniella Coetzee-Manning (Director: CED); Elizna Prinsloo (Project Coordinator: CED); Magriet Fourie (Coordinator: Qwa-Qwa); Anne-Marie Lochner (Coordinator: Namakwa).
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe
 

The Centre for Education Development (CED) at the University of the Free State launched its Family Math & Family Science roll-out initiative in the Free State and Northern Cape Province at the beginning of 2009. As part of the quality assurance process, a Family Math & Family Science Summit was recently held at the CED to reflect upon the roll-out strategy during 2009. Delegates as far as Qwaqwa in the Free State and De Aar and Springbok in the Northern Cape province, sponsors and other role-players attended the summit to share information regarding the impact and best practices of the roll-out strategy.

The mission of the project is to demystify Math and Science for learners in the early school years by raising their levels of understanding and changing their attitudes towards Sciences and Mathematics. This is done by exposing learners to Family Math & Family Science activities on a regular basis in the classroom and integrating the activities into the curriculum.

A total number of 5112 learners from predominately rural communities in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces were actively involved in doing Math and Science activities during the first 3 terms of 2009. To achieve this, the CED trained 9 Subject Advisors to act as coordinators in their respective regions with the responsibility of training and supporting local teachers in the implementation of the progamme. One of the key elements of the success of the project is the fact that the CED also manufactures and issues the 134 participating teachers with sufficient training material like manipulatives and other activity material to be utilized in the classroom. Without the support of the sponsors, ABSA and SANRAL, the latter would not have been possible.

It is envisaged to include as many schools as possible in the Free State and Northern Cape province in the programme, depending on sponsorships received.

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