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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

UFS part of project to translate Bible into Sign Language
2012-02-15

 
Signing welcome to the UFS was, from left: Sias Graig from Gauteng; Agnes Dyabuza from the Western Cape; and John Keitsemore from the Free State.
Photo: Amanda Tongha

Plans to have the Bible translated into South African Sign Language were discussed at our university. This project is the first of its kind in the country and our university is playing an active role in it.

Representatives from various church denominations and deaf-friendly local and international organisations met on the Bloemfontein Campus. Wycliffe Bible Translators, Talking Hands, the International Missions Board and Seed, an organisation from Australia, were some of organisations represented. Representatives from Lesotho and Swaziland also attended the meeting.
 
Participants met for the first time in Johannesburg in October 2011. The recent meeting was to discuss the project moving forward. The translation project is expected to be completed in five years time and the final product will be released on a DVD, featuring Bible stories chronologically.
 
Organiser Lisa Craye says Bloemfontein was not only chosen as venue because it is central, but also because of the work that had already been done by UFS staff member Susan Lombaard. Ms Lombaard, who works at the Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment, did her master’s degree on the need for a Bible in South African Sign language in 2003.

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