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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

SRC President to advocate for all students during term
2017-04-10

Description: ' A Pres SK Tags: Pres SK

Skhululekile Luwaca, the newly elected SRC President
on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Photo: Johan Roux

 

With a grateful heart, Sikhulekile Luwaca takes up his position as Student Representative Council (SRC) President on the Bloemfontein Campus, after the results of the election were announced on 29 March 2017.

An integrated leader

Sikhulekile, known as SK among his peers, said that as a leader, he needed to integrate himself with the student community, and from there he would have the influence to make an impact on society. “I believe in being an open-minded leader who is open to engagement and peaceful resolutions.”

SK said he would like to represent the interest of all students and invited them to raise their concerns. By the end of his term, he wanted to have achieved a number of goals, which include the integration of off-campus students and to provide a shuttle service for them. He said he also wanted to establish and launch an SRC fund. Furthermore he plans to make sure that all structures of student governance are functional, to name but a few.

2017 SRC candidates

The SRC members at the Bloemfontein Campus are:

President: Sikhulekile Luwaca
Vice-President: Surprise Manyaiyi
Secretary: Nothando Hlophe
Treasurer: Ntombi Nhlapo
Student Development and Environmental Affairs: Silindelokuhle Mthethwa
Transformation: Mathlodi Leteane
Arts and Culture: Joseph Ntebele
Sport: Nombulelo Booi
Media and Marketing: Refilwe Motsumi
Student Accessibility and Support: Donald Litsoane
Legal and Constitutional Affairs: John Modukanele
First Generation Students: Mohau Lesebo
Academic Student Council: Sekese Rasephei
Rag and Community Service: Gert Jan van der Walt
Day Residence and Commuter Student Council: Gontse Choane
Postgraduate Student Council: Mpoi Makhetha
International Student Council: Takudzwa Nyamunda
On Campus Residence Council: Natasha Kabaso
Dialogue and Associations Council: Asive Dlanjwa
Student Media Council: Puseletso Mashego

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