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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

University of Leeds professor an inspiration
2016-09-19

Description: Academic Conversation  Tags: Academic Conversation

Prof Shirley Anne Tate, Associate Professor
at the University of Leeds; Eddie de Wet and
Emme-Lancia Faro, both from Student
Communities; Pura Mgolombane, Dean of
Student Affairs; and Dr WP Wahl, Assistant
Director of Student Communities.
Photo: Qhamani Tshazi

Prof Shirley Anne Tate from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom inspired students at the second Academic Conversation held at the University of the Free State on the Bloemfontein Campus.

“Academics such as Prof Tate play a vital role in building bridges between students with high demands of ‘transformation’ and university managements that struggle to meet students halfway.”

These were the words of Jani Swart, current Primaria of Welwitschia residence, who attended the dialogue session. She said, however, she wished that more students had the opportunity and willingness to be guided by Prof Tate.

Prof Tate is an Associate Professor in Race and Culture at the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. She is also a visiting Professor and Research Fellow at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at UFS.

Professor Tate captivated the students when she addressed them on the topic of Wellbeing in Higher Education Institutions.

The Academic Conversation was hosted by the Office of Student Affairs on 1 August 2016.

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