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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

University hosts Mandela Rhodes Scholars
2012-09-20

About 50 current and past recipients of the prestigious Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, from across the continent, will gather on the Bloemfontein Campus this month. They will attend the Community of Mandela Rhodes Scholars Summit that takes place from 29 September to 1 October 2012.

This is the first time that the summit is being held in Bloemfontein. Previously, it has been hosted at the University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch and Rhodes Universities and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in Cape Town. The theme for the Summit is ‘Re-Imagining Education in Africa’. Scholars from diverse fields such as genetics, law, music and medicine will participate. Those attending hail from, among others, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa.

Mr Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar, convener of the summit, says the scholars themselves will direct the topics of the summit programme. Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the universityand Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Students, are included in the list of speakers.

The Community of Mandela Rhodes Scholars is the alumni body of people who have been awarded the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship and fall within the legacy organisations of former President Nelson Mandela. The scholarship offers young Africans who exhibit academic prowess as well as broader leadership potential, an educational opportunity unique on the continent. While pursuing their chosen postgraduate degree, each scholar benefits from access to leadership development programmes.
 

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