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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

Students translate documents for the aged
2007-11-08

 

As part of practical module in translation, third-year students in Translation Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) translated a document for a group of aged people. The document is a guide for luncheon clubs of Age-in-Action, a non-governmental organisation working amongst the aged. The document contains information on how the aged can organise the group and the services they can render in the community. The document was translated into Afrikaans and Sesotho with the help of a group in Heidedal and Mangaung, respectively. As part of their course, the students had to meet with the management of Age-in-Action to find out more about the aim of the document. After that, they visited the groups in the community twice to gain information that would ensure that the documents fulfil the needs of the groups. The students attended to matters such as the type of language used by the groups, what the groups do with the document and the layout requirements of the groups, e.g. a larger font. The module in translation studies is presented as a community service-learning module, which means that students learn while rendering service in a community. They have the advantage of learning in a real-life situation and the community has the advantage of receiving a service. The aim is to develop knowledge which is to the advantage of the community. On the photo the translated document is handed to the leaders of the luncheon clubs. From the left, are: Ms Melita Pietersen (luncheon club leader), me. Karma Harvey (third-year student in Language Practice at the UFS), Ms Susan van Eck (luncheon club leader), and Ms Catherine van Rooyen (luncheon club leader).
Photo: Supplied

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