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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

Spring Graduation
2011-09-12

 

Our university will be awarding altogether 91 diplomas/certificates and 624 degrees during the Spring Graduation Ceremony on 14 and 15 September 2011. Of these, 23 doctorates and two honorary doctorates will also be awarded.

As with this year’s Autumn Graduation Ceremony, we will be making the ceremony more accessible to students and the public. Two appearances, in particular, can be looked forward to on this occasion: a national concert pianist in Grade 12 from Voortrekker High School in Bethlehem, Caryn Reed, and a continental debating champion and second-year student in our Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Sibusiso Tshabalala, as guest speaker.
 
All the master’s and doctoral degrees of the various faculties will once again be awarded during one ceremony on 15 September 2011.
 
Prof. Robert Frater, Emeritus Professor in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Centre, New York, will be receiving an honorary doctorate in Medical Science. As a teacher and trainer, Prof. Frater has influenced many surgeons in his training role in the wards, operating room and intensive care facility. Dr Akilagpa Sawyerr, an academic from Ghana, will be receiving an honorary doctorate in Education for groundbreaking work done on the African continent. Dr Sawyerr, who is a member of our International Advisory Council, has visiting appointments at prestigious universities, such as the famous Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also has visiting status at the Harvard Law School and the Yale Law School.
 
The full programme for the various ceremonies is:
  • Wednesday, 14 September 2011:
At 10:15, the degrees will be awarded to students of the Faculties of Humanities, Education, Law and Theology. Diplomas/certificates up until honours degrees will be awarded. This excludes the Certificate in Education, National Professional Diploma in Education and the Advanced Education Certificate.
 
At 15:15, degrees will be awarded to students in the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences and Natural- and Agricultural Sciences and Health Sciences. Diplomas/Certificates up until honours degrees will be awarded.
  •  Thursday, 15 September 2011:
At 10:15, a total of 125 master’s and doctoral degrees plus two honorary doctorates will be awarded by all the faculties in a joint ceremony.
 
The Chancellor’s Dinner will also take place on the same day.

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