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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. 


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Seminar on mediation and peacemaking in Southern Africa
2011-09-21

Our university will join universities from five other African countries at a seminar in Lusaka, Zambia, from 23 - 25 September 2011, to discuss mediation and peacemaking in Southern Africa.  The Osaka University from Japan will also be present at the seminar.

The seminar follows the conceptualisation of a programme entitled the Southern Africa Oasis of Peace Project by Prof. Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in Political Science at our university, and Prof. Virgil Hawkins from Osaka University. The project aims to build networks between academics across the world who work in the broad field of conflict resolution and to offer good practical suggestions to policy makers on how to achieve sustainable peace in the Southern African region.
 
Prof. Solomon will deliver a paper on mediation within the context of a war, presenting the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), at the seminar. Senior academics from the universities of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Dar-es-Salaam, Stellenbosch and Pretoria will also deliver presentations.
 
Prof. Solomon said that amongst the envisaged outputs of the seminar are a journal and regular conferences to bring together academics and policy makers.

The Southern Africa Oasis of Peace Project is being funded by the Asia Africa Science Platform Programme and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

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