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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

Leeds academic presents a seminar on racism in the UK
2014-07-30

 


Dr Shirley Tate during her seminar on colour-blind racism.
Photo: O'Ryan Heideman

A prominent researcher and academic, Dr Shirley Tate, recently delivered an academic paper – soon to be published – on racism at institutions of higher learning in the United Kingdom. The seminar was hosted at the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campus by the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice.

Dr Tate spoke about colour-blind racism – where racism at an interpersonal level, racial differences and ethnic particularities are overlooked. Colour-blind racism continues to negate the fact that skin colour has consequences in societies where it has been claimed that 'race' no longer matters.

Dr Tate, author of two books, is particularly interested in exploring the intersections of 'raced' and gendered bodies, race performativity, critical mixed race and racism in organisations.

Her talk sparked a lot of interest from both students and staff who were extremely keen to find out more about her extensive research and its striking similarities to our South African experience.

Dr Tate is an Associate Professor in Race and Culture and Director of the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.


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