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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

Winter Graduation spreads a glow of pride
2014-07-03

 

The 2014 Winter Graduation spread a glow of pride across our Bloemfontein Campus.

During the first session on Wednesday 2 July, the School of Open Learning conferred 612 diplomas and certificates.

Hazel Motsoeneng, District Director of Motheo in the Department of Education in the Free State, offered a powerful message to the graduates. “Teaching today is about reaching learners. The world of the future will not be changed because of the money you made, or the car you drove. The world of the future will be changed because you touched a child’s life.”

She reminded the graduates that “teaching is still a labour of love.”

Stafford Masie, the former general manager of Google South Africa, addressed 473 graduands on day two of the graduation ceremony.

“If you want to grow as an individual, realise that there are more people outside your immediate environment than inside that can help make you a better person. Take the opportunity and get exposed,” Masie said.

He added a few bits of advice:
• Be unique, don’t just follow others’ creations.
• The focus is no longer on me, me, me, but on we, we, we.
• You have the opportunity and the skills set. Don't just do things, do great things.
• True innovation happens when people are having fun.
• Work on stuff that really matters.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, conveyed a special message to the graduates. “Getting a higher degree comes with high expectations of who you are and how you conduct yourself. A higher degree at Kovsies means that you are a better person, not only because you received a qualification, but also because of your human capacity to love and embrace.” 




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