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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

Young entrepreneur takes tech world by storm
2016-09-14

Description: Steuda  Tags: Steuda

Steuda, a website which aims to simplify
the lives of students.
Logo: Supplied

Alexi Carreira, a young entrepreneur hopes to simplify the lives of students and help them become successful with the aid of his new website, Steuda.

Says Alexi, a student at the University of Free State who is currently busy with his Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration: “My willpower to be successful in my purpose motivates me, but more than that, God’s will for me to help others succeed.”

The purpose behind the website

Steuda is a platform for students, by a student, that aims to create a brand for students to advertise what they have to offer and to receive information from their peers about textbooks, course material, and accommodation - even just a lift home.

According to Alexi, Steudacurrently has six categories, general buying and selling, buying and selling of textbooks, accommodation, bursaries, job opportunities and community information. “We are in the process of providing extra short courses which students will be able to do online and once completed, they will receive a certificate of completion.

Becoming successful and pursuing your dreams

Alexi wants to simplify and empower the lives of students. Having Steudabecome a successful and well-known brand is his main goal. “My goal is for Steuda to become a national platform for students to use when they need anything or want to offer anything pertaining to student life.”

Alexi tells young entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dreams: “Do not allow the fear of past or current situations to define you. Be resilient. It’s a blessing to fail while attempting what you love.”

Steuda launches on 14 September and will be available at: www.steuda.co.za

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