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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

Call for nominations for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards
2017-06-23

Description: Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards 2017 Tags: Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards 2017


The University of the Free State has produced a crop of excellent alumni who have placed the university on the world stage. The aim of the third annual Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards is to acknowledge and honour alumni for achievements in both their personal capacity and occupational fields. Recognition for the 2017 Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards will be based on achievements attained from 2016 to 2017.

Nominations are invited in five categories:
•    The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the highest honour accorded to an alumnus, recognises the distinguished national or international achievements of its recipient.
•    The Young Alumnus of the Year Award acknowledges the achievements of alumni who have graduated within the past decade.
•    The Cum Laude Award is bestowed upon an alumnus to recognise excellence in any field.
•    The Executive Management Award is made to any person (not necessarily an alumnus) who has delivered exceptional service to the university.
•    The Kovsie Ambassador Award is bestowed upon a current student whose achievements have brought distinction to him/her, benefited his/her community, and brought credit to the University of the Free State.

Previous recipients of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards include television personality, Leon Schuster; Free State Education MEC, Tate Makgoe; politician, Adv. Roelf Meyer; Olympic gold medallist, Wayde van Niekerk; former Miss World, Rolene Strauss; CEO of Central Media Group, Gary Stroebel; and Judge President of the Free State High Court, Justice Mahube Molemela.

Nominations can be submitted in writing to the Alumni Office at alumni@ufs.ac.za using the provided nomination form. A selection panel will choose the appropriate candidate(s) with age, race, and gender playing no role in the selection process. The closing date for submission of nominations is 12:00 on 31 July 2017. Award winners will be announced at a gala banquet on Saturday, 26 August 2017.

Additional queries can be directed to Helen Namponya at +27 51 401 9343, or by email at alumni@ufs.ac.za.

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