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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

Different religions introduced at UFS forum
2010-08-18

 
Mr Ronnie Rosen, leader of the Jewish community in Bloemfontein.

The Inter-Religious Forum (IRF) of the Faculty of Theology at the University of the Free State (UFS) has started a discussion series which offer the opportunity to different religions to introduce themselves. According to Rev. Maniraj Sukdaven from the Department of Religion Studies at the UFS, the purpose of the discourse series is to get to know more about one another’s religion within an atmosphere of respect.

During the last IRF meeting, Mr Ronnie Rosen, leader of the Jewish community in Bloemfontein, gave a talk about the Jewish religion. According to him there is a wide range of Jewish people.

“The one thing, however, that all Jewish people have in common is the Torah or Law-Book. There are 613 instructions that help a Jewish person to organise his life according to the Jewish way of life. For example, a Jewish person who wants to obey the Torah would not consume dairy products and protein together. This life style is not only regarded as a religion, but a way of life, which constantly makes a person aware of his relationship with God,” he explained.

Another interesting fact that transpired during the discussion was that, for the first time in the history of the world, there are more Jews in Israel than in other concentrated areas across the world. Five (5) million Jews are currently living in Israel, while the remaining 10 million Jews are spread across the world.

During the meeting of the IRF forum, persons from amongst others the Baha’i, Hindu and Christian religions participated in the discussion. Other religions that have already been discussed are Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Rastafarians.

The IRF will also be involved in the structuring of course material about the different religions and an inter-religious conference will be part of the IRF’s programme in 2011.

The IRF is the only institution of its kind at South African universities.



 

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