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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

Academics deliver paper at international congress on urban planning
2008-10-07

 

Dr Maléne Campbell from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Free State (UFS) and Mr Andile Mshumpela, master's graduate in Urban and Regional Planning of the same department, presented a paper titled: 'The Peoples Housing Project: The Case of the Amathole District Municipality' at the recent 44th ISoCaRP congress, which took place in Dalian, China. The theme of the congress was 'Urban Growth without Sprawl a Way Towards Sustainable Urbanization' and was jointly organised by the Urban Planning Society of China and ISoCaRP, a global association of experienced professional planners. ISoCaRP (International Society of City and Regional Planners) was founded in 1965 in a bid to bring together recognised and highly qualified planners in an international network. The ISoCaRP network consists of both individual and institutional members of more than 70 countries all over the world. Here are, from the left: Councilor Luntu Bobo of the Buffalo City Municipality, Mr Mshumpela, and Dr Campbell.
Photo: Supplied

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