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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

Chitja Twala: leading ANC historian
2017-12-25

Description: Dr Twala spotlight Tags: Chitja Twala, ANC history, history, UFS Department of History 

Dr Chitja Twala is a leading historian on ANC history in the
Free State. Photo: Sonia Small

Dr Chitja Twala is a senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein Campus. Dr Twala has a substantial publication record on the history of the liberation movements, with special reference to the African National Congress in the Free State. He is the author of six chapters and has co-authored two in The Road to Democracy in South Africa: Vol. 4 (1970-1990) and The Road to Democracy in South Africa: Vol. 6 (1990-1996), published in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Dr Twala has a PhD in History from the UFS.

Dr Twala was part of the first group of the UFS Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP). He is currently collaborating with Prof Peter Limb from the Michigan State University in the United States of America on a book project on the history of the ANC in the Free State. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in local and international journals. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal for Contemporary History, Yesterday and Today Journal, and South African Journal of Cultural Studies.

Awards received by Dr Twala:
The National Research Foundation
New frontier in Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development Funding
Recipient of the Graduate School for Arts and Sciences at the University of Harvard
US Recipient of the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Grant
Awarded the Mellon Foundation Scholarship 2016-2018


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