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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

International speakers unite to discuss diversity
2014-01-20


The Institute of Reconciliation and Social Justice is hosting a two-day colloquium on 30–31 January 2014. A broad range of keynotes will discuss the topic: ‘Diversity and the politics of engaged scholarship: A comparative study in higher education’.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, and Prof Dr Halleh Ghorashi from the Netherlands will lead as keynote speakers on the first day.

Prof Dr Ghorashi is a Professor of Diversity and Integration in the Department of Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She is the author of ‘Ways to Survive, Battles to Win: Iranian Women Exiles in the Netherlands and the United States’. She has also published extensively on topics such as identity, diasporic positioning, cultural diversity and emancipation.

During the second day, Dr Charles Alexander from Los Angeles and Prof Shirley Tate from Leeds will lead as keynote speakers.

Dr Alexander is Associate Vice-Provost for Student Diversity at the University of California. He has run several programmes for students who have been underserved by higher education, including students from immigrant families and underrepresented populations. In 2011, Dr Alexander received a Champions of Health Professions Diversity Award from The California Wellness Foundation in recognition of his commitment to increasing California’s health care workforce and its diversity.

Prof Shirley Tate’s work focuses, among others, on theorising ‘race’ performativity and the intersection between 'race' and gender. She has written on mixed ‘race’ identities, affect, beauty, embodiment, pain and women in prison, transracial intimacies, gendered prison identities, racial affective economies in organisations, as well as on domestic work and food.

The sessions led by these keynote speakers are open to the public and the Institution welcomes everyone to join in this topical discussion.

Date: Thursday 30 January 2014 and Friday 31 January 2014
Time: 09:00–11:00
Place: Centenary Hall
RSVP: vannestel@ufs.ac.za 

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