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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

Complicity, tragedy and shameful prejudice displayed in exhibition
2013-06-06

 

The history of the persecution of homosexuals during the Nazi era on display.
Photo: Johan Roux
06 June 2013


The exhibition In Whom Can I Still Trust? portrays the history of the persecution of homosexuals during the Nazi era. It cuts even closer to home, as it also explores the protection of sexual minorities in South Africa as well.

Richard Freedman, Director of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation, was the guest speaker during the opening.

The exhibition is brought to South Africa thanks to the efforts of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation. The foundation redesigned and developed the exhibition specifically for South Africa. Originally under the curatorship of Dr Klaus Mueller from Berlin, on behalf of IHLIA (Homosexual and Lesbian Archive, Amsterdam), the exhibition highlights the largely-untold history of the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. Archive photographs, personal testimonies and video clips relate the historical narrative to the prejudices still facing homosexuals today.

Through additional panels, the exhibition aims to focus attention on the protection of sexual minorities in South Africa. The It Gets Better South Africa Project – a collection of videos that discourages homophobic bullying – forms an important part of the exhibition. The interviewees range from struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada and Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to TV personality Joanne Strauss.

In Whom Can I Still Trust? is hosted by the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS in partnership with the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery and Student Affairs.

Exhibition runs: 6 –14 June 2013
Place: Thakaneng Bridge

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