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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

'England, the English and the problem of education in South Africa.’
2013-09-26

 

 

Attending the lecture were, from the left: Dr Susan Brokensha, Senior Lecturer: Department of English; Prof Rosemary Gray, Professor Emeritus (Honorary Life Vice-President of the English Academy of Southern Africa); Prof Jonathan Jansen; and Dr Thinus Conradie, Lecturer: Department of English.
Photo: Johan Roux
26 September 2013

 

Prof Jonathan Jansen: Lecture

The university celebrated the life of one of South Africa's most renowned art critics, hosting the 2013 English Academy’s Percy Baneshik Memorial Lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The keynote lecture was delivered by Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, who joined a distinguished list of speakers to have delivered the lecture. Presented annually by the English Academy of Southern Africa, an association dedicated to promoting the effective use of English as a dynamic language in Southern Africa, past speakers include Prof Es’kia Mphahlele, Prof Njabulo Ndebele, Dr Alan Paton and Prof Albie Sachs. The lecture is hosted at venues across the country and this year Bloemfontein paid tribute to Percy Baneshik.

In his speech Not even colonial born: England, the English and the problem of education in South Africa,' Prof Jansen addressed the dilemma of the politics of language in both school and university education today.

Talking about the dominance of English in schools, Prof Jansen said it is the language of choice because indigenous languages are so poorly taught. "Simply learning in your mother tongue is absolutely no guarantee of improved learning gains in school. The problem is not the language of instruction; it is the quality of teaching, the knowledge of curriculum and the stability of the school."

Prof Jansen told the audience in the CR Swart Hall that Afrikaans-exclusive, or even Afrikaans-dominant white schools represent a serious threat to race relations in South Africa. "You simply cannot prepare young people for dealing with the scars of our violent past without creating optimal opportunities in the educational environment for living and learning together."

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