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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

Students learn how to prepare for the workplace
2013-10-18

Attending the information session were, from the left: Shelagh Foster and Phiwe Mathe, SRC president of the Bloemfontein Campus. 
18October 2013
Photo: Johan Roux

  Your First Year of Work: YouTube video

Getting a foot in the door with potential employers is a struggle for the inexperienced, more so for fresh out of school graduates who don't know how to put a CV together, can’t spell or dress properly when meeting employers. 

Launching her book Your First Year of Work: A Survival Guide, communications expert Shelagh Foster highlighted  these facts and others during an information session on the Bloemfontein Campus. Students who attended gained a wealth of information from her and Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, who shared tips on how to prepare for the workplace and be successful in their job search. 

Shelagh explained how a request from a graduate to do an internship at Media Online, where she had formerly worked as editor, made her decide to teach jobseekers the basics of verbal and written communications. She told the audience that the e-mail request from a female student, was littered with mistakes and left her with questions such as "what if she is really smart, has something to offer the company, but just don't know how to send an e-mail?" 

Practical advice she gave, include dressing properly for a job interview, knowing who you communicate with when addressing an e-mail, as well as finding out as much as possible about the company you are applying to. 

* Your First Year of Work: A Survival Guide  addresses the unwritten codes that exist in the workplace that need to be understood by interviewees and new employees battling to get ahead once they've finished with matric or university. 

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