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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

International Literacy Day an opportunity to reach out
2016-09-08

Description: International Literacy Day 2016 Tags: International Literacy Day 2016

Sasol Library
Photo: Sonja Small


Library and Information Services and Community Engagement office promote literacy.

Fifty years ago UNESCO officially proclaimed 8 September International Literacy Day to actively mobilise communities and to promote literacy as an instrument of empowering individuals and society. This year this great milestone will be celebrated under the banner “reading the past, writing the future”. As we commemorate 50 years we should ask ourselves whether Illiteracy has been eradicated or not.

As part of its outreach programme, Library and Information Services, in collaboration with the office of Community Engagement, for the first time jointly celebrate International Literacy Day and invited members of the community to a book launch which took place at Lefikeng High School in Botshabelo on 8 September 2016. The programme also included the establishment of a small library at the school, and on 15 September, a writer’s day event will be held together with the Department of African Languages on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The book, “Amazing Grace”, was written by Free State-born writer, Charles Dunn. Dunn took the opportunity to speak to students and the community of Botshabelo about his inspiration for writing the book, as well as take them through his journey of life, from surviving drug addiction to imprisonment, and how he finally changed his life to become an author.

In working towards eradicating illiteracy, the Library and Information Services has hosted a number of book launches in the past, to encourage a culture of reading and writing among academia, students and surrounding communities, as well as opportunities for them to network with local and international authors. Feedback from these events bears testimony that indeed the library is successful in creating spaces for lifelong learning.

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