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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

Public lecture and book launch by Prof Adam Habib
2014-07-29

The Department of Philosophy in association with Wits University Press and The Southern African Trust invites you to a public lecture and book launch on Wednesday 30 July at 15:00 in the Albert Wessels Auditorium by one of South Africa’s leading political commentators, Prof Adam Habib (see biography below). Prof Habib will discuss questions such as whether the ANC has betrayed the ideals of the struggle, and whether social democracy offers an alternative for South Africa’s future.

After the lecture the English, Afrikaans, Sesotho and isiZulu editions of his latest book, South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects, will be for sale and light refreshments will be offered.

Translation services into Afrikaans and Sesotho will be available during his lecture and question time.

RSVP to Dirnel Casaleggio, casaleggiod@ufs.ac.za  

Short biography:
Prof Adam Habib is Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Witwatersrand (Wits). He has held leadership and academic appointments at the University of Durban-Westville, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (where he was founding director of the Centre for Civil Society), the University of Johannesburg and the Human Sciences Research Council. Habib is widely recognised as one of the authoritative commentators on South Africa’s democracy and its prospects for inclusive development and social democracy. His latest book, South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects has already made huge waves both locally and internationally. The book focuses on South Africa’s transition into democracy and its prospects for inclusive development.

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