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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

Mekondjo! National exhibition to reveal the courage, determination, repression and torture of PLAN
2014-05-21

 
Angelina Angula ex PLAN soldier injured during the 1978 Cassinga attack - photo by John Liebenberg.

A pioneering exhibition by John Liebenberg and Christo Doherty is about to open on the Bloemfontein Campus. ‘Mekondjo! born in the struggle for Namibia’ gives South Africans their first insight into the lives of the men and women who fought against the SADF in the bush of Northern Namibia and Angola from 1966 – 1989.

This public exhibition presents eleven portraits of People’s Liberation Army veterans in the process of speaking about and coming to terms with their very different experiences in the Namibian War of Liberation.

When the People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) returned to Namibia after the UN-supervised elections of 1989, it had been fighting against South African rule for 23 years. Formed in 1966 as the armed wing of the South West African Peoples’ Organisation, PLAN had developed from a handful of poorly armed guerrillas to a sophisticated mechanised force. These soldiers fought alongside Angolan, Russian and Cuban soldiers against the SADF and UNITA. Since SWAPO’s election victory, the new government has mythologised the heroism of the armed struggle. The stories of the individual PLAN fighters’ experiences are only now being articulated, though.

Their stories are of great courage and determination against often impossible odds; but also of repression, torture, and disastrous decisions by the PLAN leadership.

The exhibition will be on display from Thursday 22 May to Friday 23 May for the duration of the Silence after Violence conference. The conference is hosted by the UFS Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice and the Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.

Date: Thursday 22 May and Friday 23 May 2014
Place: Centenary Complex, Reitz Hall, Bloemfontein Campus
Exhibition Introduction: Thursday 22 May, 14:00 – 15:30
Other viewing times: intermissions during the Silence after Violence programme

The public is welcome to attend.

* Spotlight photo: PLAN commissioner Nkrumah Mushelenga, Windhoek 2013 – photo by John Liebenberg

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