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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

Kovsie student trailblazing to literary stardom
2013-10-24

 

Ace Moloi with a copy of his book In Her Fall Rose a Nation
Photo: Jerry Mokoroane
24 October 2013

Ace Moloi proves that ambition and self-belief are key ingredients in achieving your dreams. At merely 21-years of age, this Kovsie student made his entrance onto the literary scene with the launch of his first novel. In Her Fall Rose a Nation tells the story of a young girl who leaves her rural home to further her studies in the city. Loosing herself in the excitement of student life, she gets kicked out of university. As a result she has to find refuge in the streets that devour her last bit of hope of rising again. The novel, published by New Voices Publishing, was introduced to an eager audience at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Moloi, a third-year Communications student and prime of House Tswelopele, says his book is a unique offering that will inspire and intrigue.

"The inspiration behind this project emanates mainly from the realisation that as much as we bemoan the lack of reading among young people – particularly in the townships and rural areas – we haven’t taken the initiative to write books that will speak to them and their day-to-day circumstances."

The talented writer, who is also a content contributor for News24 and a former IRAWA Post news editor, says he has been influenced by the writings of extraordinary individuals such as Kwasi Koranteng, Steve Biko and Dr KPD Maphalla. It took him three years to write the book, Ace says, mentioning that it first started as a Sesotho novel, that was later turned into English.

Already working on his second manuscript, Prey and Predators, Ace’s message to fellow students is to never underestimate the power of dreams. "By nature, dreams are unique, and so is yours. Own it up. Defend it. Realise it. Most importantly, never allow anyone to make you feel guilty for having great ambitions, for without ambition there is no meaning at all to life."

* In Her Fall Rose a Nation sells for R100 and can ordered from Ace at ace.moloi@gmail.com. The book can also be ordered online for R150 from New Voice Publishing online bookstore at www.newvoices.co.za.

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