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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

Prof Combrink gives 32nd DF Malherbe Memorial Lecture
2014-06-04

Since 2006, Prof HJB Combrink is the project leader of ‘Die Bybel: ’n Direkte Vertaling’. Prof Combrink addressed an audience on the subject of the project at the 32nd DF Malherbe memorial lecture. During the memorial lecture, he quoted DF Malherbe in order to create the context between the recent Direct Translation and the 1933/53 translation which involved Malherbe.

“Some of the younger generation forget that they are standing on the shoulders of workers who served in the muddy ditches of vilification to procure the foundations of a cultural language, and speak belittling and with shrugged shoulders about the first attempts, or show a lack of good comprehension, while judging the verses and tales from the Patriotic period according to aesthetic norms.”

Prof Combrink said that the Direct Translation transpired in a different context than the 1933/53 and the 1983 translations. The direct translation was approached differently and is therefore more inclusive concerning the relevant processes and phases.

“The making of a direct translation was and undoubtedly remains a great challenge,” Prof Combrink said. “It is not always easy to find the correct Afrikaans expression for a Greek or Hebrew idiom or loaded term.”

“It is an ongoing exercise trying to sit in two chairs at the same time. (However), the Bible Society could frankly say that this direct translation is an honest and well-informed attempt to portray all of the communication clues from the Greek and Hebrew source texts in good Afrikaans.”

Prof Combrink was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in Wonderboom, Pretoria (1968–1970), lecturer at RAU, UP and SU (New Testament, 1970–2001), and Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Stellenbosch University for two terms (1992-1994 and 1998–2000). 
 

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