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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

Dr Malete elected Chairperson of PanSALB
2010-09-06

Dr. Elias Malete

The Principal of UFS’s Qwaqwa Campus, Dr Elias Malete, was recently elected Chairperson of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) at the 62nd General Board Meeting held in Pretoria. He is taking over from Prof. Sihawukele Ngubane from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

PanSALB is a constitutional body tasked with promoting and creating conditions for the development and use of eleven official languages in South Africa, including the likes of German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, amongst others.

“Our mandate going forward is to complement the good work that was done by Prof. Ngubane. We are charged with the responsibility of maintaining quality, respect, honesty and accountability in order to realise our new vision of promoting and ensuring respect for all languages commonly used by South African communities, including the Khoi, Nama and San languages, as well as South African Sign Language,” said Dr Malete.

“Our main focus in the next twelve months of office will be the development of programmes which will support PanSALB’s three-year strategic plan. These programmes will focus on administrative matters to ensure prudent financial and effective corporate governance of PanSALB, as well as aligning our structures like national language bodies, national lexicographic units and provincial language committees with the new strategic plan. This alignment is crucial if we are to create conditions for the development of all languages, thus promoting multilingualism and ensuring respect for all South African languages,” said Dr Malete.

Meanwhile, Dr Malete was invited by the Athens Institute for Education and Research to present a paper at the 3rd Annual International Conference in Literature, Language and Linguistics in Athens, Greece. His paper, Negation of adjuncts in Sesotho, was well received by the international audience.
 

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