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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

Qwaqwa Campus honours academic excellence
2014-05-21


Photo: Sonia Small (Kaleidoscope Studios)

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      Our Qwaqwa Campus was this past weekend a hive of activity when graduates, their parents and well-wishers descended on the campus to honour outstanding academic excellence during the Winter Graduation ceremonies.

      On Friday graduates from the Faculty of Humanities, as well as the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, were addressed by Tommy Makhatho, Managing Director of the Qwaqwa-based Bibi Cash and Carry.

      Makhatho urged graduates to continue working hard way beyond their graduation day and to dream big.

      “Dream big and don’t let your poor background hold you back,” Makhatho said.

      “Don’t let people say you can’t or that you will fail. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life, think of it, dream of it, live on that idea, let your brain, muscle, nerves and every part of your body be full of that idea and leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs,” said Makhatho, the winner of the 2013 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year and Job Creator of the Year awards.

      On Saturday, graduates were treated to yet another moving message by eNCA’s news anchor, Mabale Moloi, herself a graduate in Biological sciences.

      “If there is one ability that we should all practice on a daily basis, it is work ethics. This is a value based on hard work and diligence,” Moloi said.

      Moloi further shared her views on what makes excellent work ethics.

      “There are five very important factors of work ethics that we all need to be aware of. One of them is reliability. This means how committed you are to completing a task that is given to you within a particular period of time,” said Moloi.

      “The second one is dedication. This means how prepared you are to go the extra mile in completing a job or your studies. Thirdly, one’s level of productivity is very important in having an excellent work ethic. This refers to giving the best of yourself, even to the extent of surpassing what is expected of you.”

      “Fourthly, there is co-operation. We all must understand the value of team work and how it leads to success. And this, when paired with character, self-discipline and strong personality, will distinguish you from anyone else,” Moloi added.

      Among the more than 800 degrees, diplomas and certificates conferred, were three PhDs in Physics, Polymer Science and Zoology, respectively. Four Masters of Science degrees were conferred cum laude.

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