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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

Prof. Martha Nussbaum visits Kovsies
2012-12-27

Prof. Martha Nussbaum
Photo: Sonia Small
10 December 2012

The UFS community was privileged to gain insight into the brilliant mind of renowned philosopher Prof. Martha Nussbaum when she visited the Bloemfontein Campus.

Prof. Nussbaum, considered by some as one of the foremost living philosophers on the world stage, spent a week at the university interacting with staff, students and visitors from South Africa and abroad. The visit attracted huge interest, with people traveling from other parts of South Africa to hear Prof. Nussbaum speaking at public events held on the campus. International visitors attending the conference “Engaging the Other: Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition”on campus and scholars taking part in the Southern African Young Scientists Summer Program, also attended events.

Prof. Nussbaum’s first public event was on 6 December 2012 when the university honoured her with an honorary doctorate. She received a D. Litt degree for her intellectual and public contribution to human development. On 7 December 2012, she delivered a lecture on “Creating capabilities, the human development approach”. She also delivered a keynote address on the Political Role of the Arts as part of the conference on “Engaging the Other: Breaking Intergenerational Cycles of Repetition”.
 

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