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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

Knowledge in the blood
2009-08-05

Knowledge in the blood

The book Knowledge in the blood, by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice Chancellor, is available at a bookstore on the Thakaneng Bridge.

Knowledge in the blood
Confronting race and the apartheid past
Professor Jonathan D. Jansen


978 1 91989 520 8
225 x 152mm
336 pages
Soft cover
May 2009
R250.00 (incl. VAT)
UCT Press
Southern African rights

This book tells the story of white South African students—how they remember and enact an Apartheid past. How is it that young Afrikaners, born at the time of Mandela’s release from prison, hold firm views about a past they never lived, rigid ideas about black people, and fatalistic thoughts about the future? Jonathan Jansen, the first black dean of education at the historically white University of Pretoria, was dogged by this question during his tenure, and Knowledge in the Blood seeks to answer it.

While Jansen originally set out simply to convey a story of how white students change under the leadership of a diverse group of senior academics, Knowledge in the Blood ultimately became an unexpected account of how these students in turn changed him.

“Brave, discerning, and deeply affecting. Bringing realism and rare moral generosity to the most difficult of conflicts, Jonathan Jansen illuminates the struggles faced by the inheritors of violence, as they move from pride and prejudice to a new and larger knowledge. An act of empathy as well as penetrating analysis, Knowledge in the Blood is an inspiring blueprint for thinking about social and personal transformation.”
—Eva Hoffman, author of After Such Knowledge

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