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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

Sarah Shannon is ready to take on the world
2011-08-10

 

Sarah Shannon
Photo: Lize-Marie Smit

An intimate send-off party was recently held in Sarah Shannon’s honour by her support group. She is a student from our university and she is heading to present South Africa at the 2011 Pan Pacific Para-swimming Championships in Alberta, Canada from 10-14 August. Here she will be competing in the 50 m and 100 m free-style, and the 50 m and 100 m backstroke, respectively.

Sarah, a silver-medal winner at the Para-Olympic World Championships in Brazil 2009, has set high goals for herself. She has a Bachelors degree in Psychology, has completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Education modules, and she is a motivational speaker to boot. She is also scheduled to start her PGCE practical teaching at the Tswellang Special School in Bloemfontein at the beginning of September 2011. “I love helping people and making a difference, and I would like to work with children with special needs,” Sarah says.

Ms Arina Otto, Manager at our Sports Medicine Clinic says: “We believe in you, Sarah, but mostly we support you all the way.” Sarah is also supported by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and is currently on their OPEX (Operation Excellence) Programme. OPEX sponsored her by ensuring she gets all the medical and scientific support as an athlete.

Sarah swims two hours a day and exercises for an hour on a daily basis.

“We are hoping she does well in Canada so she can be selected for the 2012 Para-Olympic Games,” says Ms Tanya Martin, Assistant Coach: SuperSport Seals Swimming Club. 
 

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