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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

Prof. Jansen is a "charmer", say students
2010-09-14

Prof. Jansen with Transport personnel.
Prof. Jansen with a B.Ed. student, Nokubonga Mdlalose.
Prof Jansen with Mr Samuel Mensah.
Prof Jansen with Sibusiso Macu, Sindiswa Masango, Mbali Phakathi and Masebabatso Mofokeng.
Prof. Jansen with Ms Mtombeni (in a white coat )

CHARMING, DOWN TO EARTH, STREEWISE … these are some of the words staff and students on the Qwaqwa Campus used to describe our Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Jonathan Jansen during his recent courtesy visit to the campus.

Prof. Jansen easily mingled and joined in conversations like a person who was acquainted to the groups of friends that he spoke to. Topics ranged from “girlfriends and boyfriends, how easy or difficult that course was, this and that party”, and of course serious academic talk.

“Prof. Jansen jokingly asked me about my white coat and whether I was a medical doctor. And when I answered that I am a cleaners’ supervisor, he became more interested in what I had to tell him,’ said Ms Dineo Mtombeni, a Maintenance Services supervisor.

“He continued to praise me and my colleagues for the cleanliness on campus and I must say he showed that he is a caring person, despite his position,” concluded Ms Mtombeni.

“I was happy to see Prof. Jansen chatting informally with students and staff. I asked him what he thought of our campus and he said he would know it better once he started teaching here once or twice a week,” said Mr Samuel Mensah, Economics lecturer.

“I then invited him to present some Economics classes and he roared with laughter about the difficulty of dealing with our micro and macro aspects of the subject and I asked him to keep it down as that would justify my students’ fear of the subject,” laughed Mr Mensah.

“He is a nice and friendly person,” said a 19-year-old Bachelor of  Commerce student Masebabatso Mofokeng.

“We shared a joke or two with him and it was one of our best experiences here on campus,” added friends, Sindiswa Masango (19) and Mbali Phakathi (19), who are also studying for their Bachelor of Commerce degrees.

A Bachelor of Education student, Nokubonga Mdlalose (20) described Prof. Jansen as a ‘charmer’.

“He is generous with his time, despite the high position that he occupies. He is approachable, friendly, charming, cool, calm and collected,” said Nokubonga.

“He asked me about my studies and I told him I wanted to make a difference in as far as teaching science is concerned. He was very interested in my Biology experiments and I am so glad I met him,” concluded Nokubonga.

– Thabo Kessah

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