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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 and Griqua National Conference work together
2009-03-04

 

Delegates from the Griqua National Conference (GNC) and role players from the University of the Free State (UFS) recently met on the South Campus of the UFS to put the objectives of a Memorandum of Understanding into practice. Some of the objectives are research, programmes and projects focusing on economic, educational, political, cultural/heritage and socio-social matters. “Research in different fields is important for the survival of the Griqua in South Africa and the UFS gives credibility to the Griqua’s research projects,” says Mr Cecil le Fleur, Chairperson of the GNC’s Council of Chiefs. According to Mr le Fleur, the GNC wants to work with the UFS because the institution reaches out to the communities of the Southern Free State. There is also mutualistic cooperation in this area that is of benefit to both partners. “Together with the UFS we will also be investigating the feasibility of the production of a documentary film on the role of the Griqua in the central interior, its political models and the role the Griqua played in the establishment of white settlers in this area. We also want to investigate and implement other relevant points of tangency,” says Mr le Fleur. Here are, from the left: Mr le Fleur, Ms Elizabeth le Fleur, Chairperson of the Cultural Group, which is one of the focus areas of the cooperation agreement, and Rev Kiepie Jaftha, Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS.
Photo: Lacea Loader

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