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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

Kovsie student to participate in G8 2013 Summit
2013-06-06

A Kovsie student is heading to London to attend the June G8 2013 Youth Summit. Tumelo Moreri is part of a chosen few who will walk among world class leaders as a delegate of the African Union.

The summit provides a platform for young leaders where they are able to collectively voice their opinions. It also gives them the opportunity to gain valuable insights on international diplomacy in order to tackle 21st century challenges head on.

The African Union delegation, of which Tumelo is part, includes representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. It consists of a Head of Government, Sherpa, Press Secretary, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Energy and Climate Change, Minister of Development, and Minister of Defence. They are responsible for developing and negotiating position papers with regards to the various ministerial positions.

Tumelo Moreri is a co-founder of Tomorrow’s Leaders Today in her home country, Botswana. She is currently the International Affairs Officer of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the Bloemfontein Campus. “The highlight for me is the fact that I am representing Africa. Africa’s voice will get to be heard through us,” says Moreri. “I see this as a huge opportunity to strive to make a contribution towards Africa and finding solutions unique to her problems. This will be a stepping stone to effecting change. This learning curve will shape and influence global discourse.”

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