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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

Multitudes celebrate dr Beyers Naude's selfless life
2013-09-14

26 September 2013

The lecture was held in partnership with the diverse churches, the youth, the house of traditional leadership. The theme was Love for Humanity.

In his special message to the gathered religious leaders, students and staff, Apostle Saki Thapong, challenged all in attendance to “look for your own miracles within yourself.”

“We need a generation of miracles and not a generation of people running after miracles”, said Apostle Thapong.

“Allow your miracle to manifest itself within you and never look at your own miracle through your own time, but through God's time and purpose”, Pastor Thapong said.

In focusing on the choice of the theme, Vice-Rector: External Affairs, Dr Choice Makhetha, said that the theme was very important to all stakeholders who needed to pledge their commitment to building a community of people who care deeply about the safety of its children and senior citizens.

“As stakeholders in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality, we need to collectively build a society courageous enough to dirty its hands to shape the socio-economic development of this area, for the benefit of the local people, the country and the world. We must build a community of people who work tirelessly to ensure that the dignity of every human being is restored and protected, especially women,” said Dr Makhetha.

Previous speakers in the series include, Dr Allan Boesak, Prof Kwandiwe Kondlo, Dr Frank Chikane, Mr Johann Naude (Dr Naude's son) and Prof Jonathan Jansen.

Dr Beyers Naude was an ordained minister in the Dutch Reformed Church who stood against apartheid despite his advantaged Afrikaner background. In the aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre of March 1960, 'Oom Bey' started questioning the morality of the government's policies. At the time of his passing away in September 2004, he was described as a “true humanitarian and true son of Africa” by Nelson Mandela.

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