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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

UFS hosts the 2017 SAIMS Conference
2017-09-21

Description: SAIMS confrence Tags: SAIMS, Kopano Nokeng, conference, research, Prof Francis Petersen, business, Kovsies, St Dairy, Mushrooms House 

The hosts of the 2017 SAIMS conference:
Dr Jacques Nel
(UFS:Business Management), Prof Francis Petersen
(UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor),
Dr Werner Vermeulen (HOD of UFS: Business Management),
Dr Habofanwe Koloba (UFS: Business Management),
and Prof Hendri Kroukamp
(UFS: Dean of Economic and Management Sciences).
Photo: Supplied



The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Business Management recently hosted the 29th South African Institute of Management Scientists (SAIMS) conference at Kopano Nokeng in Bloemfontein. This year’s theme, ‘Management Research: Science Serving Practice’ focused on the importance of sharing our results and making it relevant and usable to different communities.

Prof Petersen motivates researchers to become part of the business cycle 
On the first day of the conference, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Francis Peterson, welcomed 148 delegates from 18 different institutions (academic and professional) to the City of Roses. He motivated them to keep on doing highly scholarly research by being part of the business cycles.

Prof Adré Schreuder, founder of Consulta (Pty) Ltd, was the keynote speaker of the conference. He highlighted four personas needed to further enhance and develop the science-practice alignment in market research and business. “The first skills persona is called a Social Media Maven, which is in line with the rapid growth of social media networks and the growing need for social media analytics. Then there is the Data Synthesiser that supports the growth trend in Big Data and Advanced analytics, which are both driven by technological innovation and the enormous volume of available data. The third one is Marketing Strategist, which has strong representation in brand and advertising research in our industry. Lastly, we have the ‘Business Consultant’ which aligns with the industry trends towards deeper insights and consultative skills required to move beyond mere reporting, but rather getting involved in the design and implementation of recommendations.”

Conference to collaborate academics and business
Dr Werner Vermeulen, SAIMS 2017 Conference Chair, says, “This conference will underpin the need for collaboration and cooperation of individuals from the academic environment and the business world itself.” He says the conference will also provide a wonderful forum to refresh knowledge and explore contemporary trends and future-based business research.
 
Delegates were also given the opportunity to dress up to the carnival theme and were entertained by a fire dancer and magician. They had the honour of indulging in two Kovsie-produced food products, the St Dairy organic cheese and exotic mushrooms by Mushroom House

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