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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

Nobel Prize winner to deliver inaugural Reconciliation Lecture
2012-10-29

Nadine Gordimer
11 October 2012

Renowned writer and Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer will deliver the inaugural Reconciliation Lecture at the university on Wednesday 7 November 2012.

Nadine Gordimer received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991. Her latest book, No Time Like the Present, was published in March 2012.

Her writing deals with moral and racial issues during apartheid and books such as July's People were banned. She participated actively in the anti-apartheid movement and has recently been active in HIV/Aids causes.

She has received honorary degrees from Yale, Harvard, Columbia, and the New School for Social Research in the USA, the University of Leuven in Belgium, the University of York and Cambridge University, both in England, and the Universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand. France also honoured her with a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

The lecture on Wednesday 7 November will start at 17:30 in the Kovsie Church.

The public is welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Rochelle Ferreira on 051 401 9808 or FerreiraR1@ufs.ac.za.
 

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