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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

Do universities need theology faculties?
2012-03-27

 

From left to right: Ms Anlené Taljaard, Department of Systematic Theology, Prof. Francois Tolmie, Dean: Faculty of Theology and Prof. Alan Boesak of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice. All three are from the UFS.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
27 March 2012


Challenges facing training in theology in South Africa was the focus of a public lecture by Prof. Alan Boesak of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice at the university. Prof. Boesak is one in a series of speakers who were invited by the university’s Faculty of Theology to discuss the broader theme of the transformation of knowledge. The presence of a faculty of theology at a public university has been a point of discussion in many circles.

“Our country needs an RDP of the soul and who better than the theology faculties to make a contribution in this regard?” asked Prof. Boesak.
 
“An important challenge for a faculty of theology lies in the content that theology students learn. Does the content reflect the context of South Africa today? Theology students must be prepared to make a positive, meaningful contribution in their congregations and communities within the realities of South Africa,” Prof. Boesak said.
 
Prof. Boesak’s lecture was attended by not only lecturers and students in theology, but also staff members from several other departments on the university’s Bloemfontein Campus.
 
Several national and international speakers will present guest lectures during the year in order to sketch a more complete picture of the “transformation of knowledge”.

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