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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

The mysterious origins and problematic significance of the Postamble
2014-10-20



Prof André du Toit (UCT) and Prof Pieter Duvenhage (UFS)
Emeritus professor from UCT’s Department of Political Studies, Prof André du Toit, delivered a presentation at the Bloemfontein Campus on 14, 15 and 16 October 2014 respectively. His presentations gave an in-depth exploration of the Postamble as founding text of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

This event was hosted by the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy.

Prof Du Toit’s papers were entitled:
•    A Need for Truth: Amnesty and the Origins and Consequences of the TRC Process.
•    Tracking down a belated and inconclusive amnesty pact: The obscure origins and problematic significance of the 'Postamble' as founding text of the TRC process (Part 1 and 2).

In his presentations he explored how the text of the Postamble came to be written. He also scrutinised the respective contributions of those who were involved in drafting the text. The significance of the Postamble – as it is understood in its historical context – was also a point of discussion.

Prof Du Toit raised some thought-provoking questions during the three days. What is the relation of the amnesty provision of the Postamble with the subsequent TRC amnesty process? How did a text without any particular reference to a truth commission come to function as founding text and discursive framework for the TRC?

He also investigated some of the main problems with the history and significance of the Postamble, as well as its mysterious origins. In addition, Prof Du Toit conducted a critical analysis of a set of newly-identified drafts of the text.

One of Prof Du Toit’s most substantive inquiries, though, was into the question: Was the amnesty provision of the Postamble the product of an underlying amnesty ‘pact’ between the NP government and the ANC?


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