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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

Professor suggests San place-name book
2011-09-28

 

At the inaugural lecture of Prof. Raper were, from left to right: Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations (actg); Prof. Theo du Plessis, head of our Department of Language Management and Language Practice; Prof. Raper; and Prof. Lucius Botes, Dean of our Faculty of Humanities.
Photo: Stephen Collett

Prof. Peter Raper, Honorary Professor: Linguistics, in the Department of Language Management and Language Practice at our university, delivered his inaugural lecture on Tuesday, 27 September 2011. Prof. Raper focused on the topic of “Interpretations and translations of Bushman (San) place names” and he recommended the establishment of a chair for Khoikhoi and Bushman name studies at the UFS. Prof. Raper said that, until about 2 000 years ago, the Bushmen and their ancestors were the only inhabitants of southern Africa and that, presumably, all place names in the region were of Bushman origin. Prof. Raper also suggested the publication of a dictionary of Bushman place names which will contribute to restoring and preserving Bushman toponymic, linguistic and cultural heritage.

In his inaugural lecture, Prof. Raper distinguished between the terms Bushman and San. He said “the term Bushman was for a long time considered an insult and San was preferred. Recently, Bushman became preferable and San is considered an insult”.

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