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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. 


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Putting our new Face of Facebook on the spot
2014-05-28

 

What do you study and which year are you?
I am a second-year Governance and Political Transformation student.

Why did you enter the Face of Facebook competition?
I met Victor (our previous winner) for the first time last year and he told me I should do it – it would suit me. I am also interested in the media and I serve on Callie Hendricks’ (SRC Media and Marketing) executive committee as well.

Tell us a bit about your vision as our new Face of Facebook?
I actually want to be more interactive with students. I feel like it’s going to be a place of giving to people. I want to use this platform for community service too. I also want to learn more about media. I see myself going into the media world more in the future.

On that note, what are your goals and dreams for the future?
In my honours year I will like to specialise in international relations. Then I can become a delegate who interacts with people from all around the world. That should be able to launch me in a career working with media. I also want to initiate projects that develop women in leadership.

You received 941 votes and 241 shares. What is your message to your fans?
I want to thank them all. The fact that they believed in me and liked my video means a lot to me. I appreciate the support very, very much.

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