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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

Africa and her diaspora grace the Africa Century International Writers’ Conference
2012-10-30

30 October 2012

Programme (Pdf format)

The Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference, organised by the wRite associates, in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture, the University of the Free State (UFS) and the SABC, will take place on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS from 7 to 10 November 2012.This four-day conference will culminate in the 2012 South African Literary Awards ceremony where winners will be honoured.

The conference is dedicated to the memory and contribution of its special advisor and inspiration, Zwelakhe Sisulu, who passed away in October 2012.

The conference has attracted an array of scholars and artists from around the continent. The African diaspora will be one of the main features of the programme. Keynote addresses, the presentation of papers, dance, visual art, comedy, disc jockeying will all feature the Diaspora.
 
“This event will also mark the 21st anniversary of the then-OAU (now-AU) declared International African Writers’ Day (i.e. 7th November). The theme of this is: From Resistance to Creative Mediation: Celebrating a Century of Writing and Literary Intellectuals’ Influence On The Liberation Struggles & Political Impact on Literary Discourse and Development”, said Raks Morakabe Seakhoa, Managing Director of the wRite associates and Project Director of the South African Literary Awards and the Africa Century International African Writers Conference.
 
The patrons of the Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference include; Prof. Kgositsile Keorapetse, Prof. Chinua Achebe, Dr Nadine Gordimer, DrWanguiwaGoro and Dr Hugh Masekela.

“This prospective historical gathering of authors, literary scholars and historians will, as the then-OAU’s Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture (meeting in Coutonou, Benin, in 1991) resolved, ‘…afford the African people a moment of pause within which to reflect on the contribution of African Writers to the development of the Continent’ ”,Seakhoa added.
 
He said, “We are delighted at the growth of the prestigious South African Literary Awards, as they are now spreading their wings to inaugurate the Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference and opening up to the continent and Diaspora’s writers.”
 
Other highlights of this four-day programme include:

  • An evening with the National Poet Laureate: poetry reading by Prof. Keorapetse Kgositsile and guest poets
  • Nobel Laureate, Nadine Gordimer discusses her latest work, ‘No Time Like The Present’
  • Poetry, comedy and performances
  • Creative writing skills development programme, facilitated by: Prof.KeorapetseKgositsile, Mr Walter Chakela and Dr Oswald Mtshali
  • Tsebo-Lethabo Primary and High Schools programme
  • Books, art & crafts and clothing exhibitions and more 

For more information,visit www.africacenturyconference.org or www.sala.org.za
 

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