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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

New generation must take South Africa into the Promised Land
2012-07-23

 

Prof. Somadoda Fikeni talks about Reconciliation and Social Justice on Nelson Mandela Day.
Photo: Johan Roux
18 July 2012

 

Former President Nelson Mandela was part of the Moses generation that took people out of bondage. What the country now needs is the Joshua generation that will take it into the promise land.

This is according to political analyst and public commentator, Prof. Somadoda Fikeni. He was speaking to staff and students participating in the Global Leadership Summit, which took place on the Bloemfontein Campus from 8-20 July 2012. Prof. Fikeni took part in a panel discussion on Justice and Reconciliation. He and other panellists observed that there were still many challenges facing reconciliation in South Africa.

Referring to controversial statements made by Helen Zille, Julius Malema and Pieter Mulder, Prof. Fikeni said public discourse had become toxic and that the country was faced by a leadership crisis.

Ms Yasmin Sooka, a former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights South Africa, asked if reconciliation had not come at the expense of redress. She said that to date there had been no restitution.

Ms Lihlumelo Toyana, a post-graduate student at the university, was also part of the panel. She told the audience that 18 years into democracy, there are still people waiting for justice. Toyana said young people hoped to see change and wondered if South Africans would ever sit down and have dialogue about the past. “We need closure; we need to take the country forward.”

The other panelists were lawyer, politician and former Human Rights Commissioner Prof. Leon Wessels; a professor from the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty, Prof. Jaco Barnard-Naude; and psychologist, Prof. Alain Tschudin.
 

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