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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

A new society on Kovsie grounds
2013-06-06

ESA members outside the Faculty of Education. From left: SentshoTseki, KabeloNoosi, RefilweMabengu and SemakaleMoiloa.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
6 June 2013

The Education Student Association (ESA) is the latest addition to the associations on the Bloemfontein Campus. ESA is made up of 12 executive members who have a portfolio in the Faculty of Education’s governance structure. They serve as a voice to 1 600 students in this faculty.

Chairperson, SentshoTseki, describes ESA as “new, fresh and out there. We are here for students and we want to build a structure that is recognisable. Our goal is to facilitate students’ participation in programmatic and faculty-wide feedback. We also want to represent the students in management and governance structures.”

With just a few weeks since its establishment, the association has been involved in a community project in Ladybrand. “Community engagement with the schools around the Free State area lies at the heart of our association. We went to Ladybrand to motivate learners and also give them necessary information about university,“ Tseki added.

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