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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 academic speaks on Islamic terrorism
2012-09-12

 
 Prof. Hussein Solomon

Senior Professor Hussein Solomon from the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the University of the Free State (UFS) says it is imperative that we understand how ordinary Muslims are socialised, violently radicalised and primed to engage in acts of terror.

He was speaking at the Inter Religion Forum in the Faculty of Theology on the topic, “The rise of Islamist fundamentalist thought”.

According to Prof. Solomon, “The war on terror is truly a struggle between competing ideologies, after all, before a suicide bomber detonates his/her vest he/she must be ideologically indoctrinated to believe that what he/she is doing is the ‘right’ thing both in terms of the act and target.” Prof. Hussein, however, assured that the pure teaching of Islamic is not in favour of terrorism and killing.

Most of the twentieth century witnessed an ideological struggle between freedom and democracy. According to Prof. Solomon, “democracy” won that struggle. “The ideological struggle between freedom and authoritarianism is, however, far from over and thus we witness a clash of two competing ideologies across the globe,” he said.

He added that this is not an inter-civilizational conflict. “It rather is occurring within Muslim societies and between radical Islamists and the West.”

“A major battle is taking place in Islam between moderates, who in my view are the real Muslims, and the Islamo-fascists. Non-Muslims cannot simply regard this battle as an internal struggle. They need to support the moderate Muslim actively.”

“Should moderate Muslims lose this struggle, a clash of civilisations will become inevitable and the future will resemble a world of a war of all against all,” Prof. Solomon said.
 

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