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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

Classes commence in the Programme in Governance and Political Transformation
2009-01-23

 
Classes for the Programme in Governance and Political Transformation in the Faculty of the Humanities commenced this week on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). The opening address was delivered by Mr Thabo Motsohi, Director in the Department of Tourism, Economic and Environmental Affairs in the Free State. The topic of his address was: Catalytic effects of the tourism industry for transformation of the provincial economy. There are currently 35 registered first-year students and 100 second-year students in the Master's programme and five students are registered for the Ph.D. in Governance and Political Transformation. At the programme opening were, from the left: Antoinette Eyth, Pittsburg Pennsylvania in the United States of America, recipient of an Ambassadorial Scholarship from the Rotary Foundation and Master's student in the programme, Dr Choice Makhetha, Acting Dean: Student Affairs at the UFS, Dr Tania Coetzee, Director of the Programme Governance and Political Transformation, and Mr Motsohi.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

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