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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

SA one of the leading countries for female researchers
2014-10-28

South Africa is one of the leading countries for female researchers, with women constituting about 40% of the research field, says Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.

The Minister made these comments during the Public Lecture of the Faculty of Education on our Bloemfontein Campus on Friday evening 24 October 2014. Minister Pandor urged female students to seize the opportunities in science and technology that has been made available to them since 1994.

"Forty percent of South Africa's researchers are women. Of the 40 000 researchers in universities, science councils and business shown by our latest research and development survey records, nearly half are women. That makes South Africa one of the leading countries for female researchers," said the Minister.

Minister Pandor said that the rights and status of women in South Africa had been greatly advanced since South Africa became a constitutional democracy. "It is well known that better educated women are better for a country's social and economic development," she added.

Minister Pandor pointed out that research skills were some of the most sought-after skills in the world, and encouraged women graduates to start dominating in the research and laboratory fields, where men continue to reign supreme.

"Knowledge and innovation, rather than capital and labour, are the drivers of economic growth in all countries. The current affluence of high-income countries has been massively increased by their investment in science and new technologies."


Full lecture

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