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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

Waldo Staude shares his vision
2014-10-13



Waldo Staude has recently been announced as our new Vice-President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) on the Bloemfontein Campus. And one thing that becomes clear as soon as you meet him, is his passion for leadership.

As a first-year, Staude was a resident in JBM Hertzog. This experience – living on campus together with his fellow students – gave him great insight into the dynamic of human relationships.

By joining the SRC and becoming the Vice-President, Staude believes that he will bring about positive change. "We all tend to complain that 'ja, the SRC doesn't do their job,'” Staude says. But it’s an entirely different reality, he explains, when you are actually in the situation yourself and trying to make a difference.

Through voting, he continues, students not only have an opportunity to raise their concerns, but they exercise their power to become pro-active on campus. "You can take a step and guide this university where it needs to go," he says.

Staude – currently studying BSc Agric – has great faith in South Africa. His dream and vision is to ultimately uplift as many of our country's people as he possibly can.


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