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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

Writer Etienne van Heerden to explore the politics of memory
2013-09-12

 

Prof Van Heerden

Dialogue between Science and Society (DbSS) presents The Politics of Memory, a Personal Narrative by Professor Etienne van Heerden, Hofmeyr Professor at the School of Languages and Literatures (University of Cape Town).

Respondents: Stuart Taberner, Professor of Contemporary German Literature, Culture and Society (University of Leeds) and André Wessels, Senior Professor, Department of History (University of the Free State).

This event is part of the project Contemporary German and Afrikaner Cultural Responses to Issues of Trauma, Reconciliation and Reparation, funded by the British Academy. The UFS partners on this project are Dr’s Cilliers Van Den Berg, Johann Rossouw and Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela. They are co-organising the event with the DbSS Lecture Series.

In his paper, Prof Van Heerden will discuss Afrikaner literature about past and present historical events and how to negotiate the place of literature in a post-apartheid South Africa.

  • Date: Thursday 12 September 2013
  • Time: 12:00
  • Venue: Business School Auditorium, University of the Free State
  • RSVP to Gerald Makamba: makambagerald@gmail.com

Light refreshments will be served.

 

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