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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

Student leaders must graduate, says UFS Chancellor
2017-06-01

Description:Qwaqwa SRC members graduate  Tags: Qwaqwa SRC members graduate

Qwaqwa Campus SRC President, Njabulo Mwali
(centre), flanked by Ntokozo Masiteng (left) and
Ntokozo Thango (right), after their graduation.

In an unprecedented move, the University of the Free State’s Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele, took a special moment to congratulate graduating student leaders during the recent ceremonies held on the Qwaqwa Campus.

"I am very proud that we are a university where the SRC Presidents graduate," he said, referring to both the current and former SRC Presidents, Njabulo Mwali and Paseka Sikhosana, respectively graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Information Technology) and a Bachelor of Education (FET Phase).

"There are many universities where you have professional SRC Presidents, spending years and years on campuses and hardly going through the second year, and then they fight the hardest against exclusions," he said.

Two other members of the current SRC Qwaqwa Campus also graduated during the Humanities ceremony held on Friday 12 May 2017. They are Ntokozo Masiteng (Student Development and Environmental Affairs) and Ntokozo Mbali Thango (Sports Affairs).

Over 550 degrees and certificates were conferred in three ceremonies, which kicked off the University of the Free State’s graduation season. These included five PhDs from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

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