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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

Honorary Professor delivers inaugural lecture in the Faculty of Theology
2010-10-27

Prof. Peter Lampe.

Prof. Peter Lampe recently delivered his inaugural lecture as an Honorary Professor in the Department of New Testament in the Faculty of Theology of the University of the Free State (UFS).

The title of Prof. Lampe’s inaugural lecture was Theology and rhetorics: how do "res" and "verba" relate to each other, in which he addressed the fundamental question of the role and importance of words and the issue/content in theology. Can content simply be conveyed in any manner? Also in theology, Martin Luther observed that some theologians’ works contain words (verba) and those of others the content (res). In his inaugural lecture, Prof. Lampe pointed out that our knowledge of God/reality specifically has to be construed through the use of words. Words and terminology therefore have to be selected with circumspection. Res and verba stand in close relation to each other.

Prof. Lampe declared that in the post-modern world, a “competition” exists for the best constructed worldview and theologians could make a significant contribution to the construction of a better reality through better judgement of the words they use. 

Prof. Lampe, currently the Chair of New Testament Theology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has a rich and varied history in the field of theology. Having attained degrees in theology, philosophy and archaeology in Gottingen, Rome and Berne, Prof. Lampe has enjoyed an illustrious professional career. After receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Berne and teaching New Testament Studies there, Prof. Lampe held the Chairs of New Testament Studies in Virginia (USA) and History and Archaeology of Early Christians in Kiel (Germany), before being appointed to the post he currently holds.

In 2003 he was awarded the German Ecumenical Preaching Award and in Turkey he was the leader of an expedition that discovered the long-lost Montanist headquarters of Pepouza and Tymion.

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