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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

Prof. Cynthia Miller-Naudé delivers inaugural lecture at the university
2012-07-03

 
Prof. Cynthia L Miller-Naudé
5 July 2012

Prof. Cynthia L Miller-Naudé recently delivered her inaugural lecture as senior professor at the University of the Free State.

The lecture also served as the opening key note address to the joint conference of the Linguistics Society of South Africa, the South African Applied Linguistics Association and the South African Association for Language Teaching.

In her lecture, Prof. Miller-Naudé focused on The Case of Ellipsis in Biblical Hebrew. She examined the interrelationship between poetic style and the grammatical rules of a language by describing the ways in which grammatical rules may be relaxed or even broken to achieve a particular style within poetry. She illustrated her lecture with examples from Biblical Hebrew, the language of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

In Biblical Hebrew, it is very common to find ellipsis (words that are missing) in poetry, but they are always “missing” in ways that create stylistic effects. Prof. Miller-Naudé concluded her lecture by demonstrating that the stylistic effects of ellipsis can be described and explained using the theoretical model of cognitive poetics.

Prof. Miller-Naude was born and educated in the United States and is a leading authority in the fields of Biblical Hebrew linguistics and Bible translation.

 

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