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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 mourns the passing away of Prof. Leo Barnard
2009-04-02

It is with sadness that the management of the University of the Free State (UFS) heard about the death of Prof. Leo Barnard. He passed away yesterday afternoon in the George Medi-Clinic as a result of cancer.

Prof. Barnard was associated with the UFS for many years and was Head of the university’s Department of History from 1997–2008. He was appointed as research associate at the department after his retirement last year.

“Prof. Barnard was one of the few military historicists in South Africa. He was amongst others a member of the South African Historical Society and also served on several professional organisations such as The South African Academy for Science and Arts,” said Prof. André Wessels, Head of the Department of History at the UFS.

He served on the editorial committee of the Journal for Contemporary History, an accredited academic journal published by the Department of History at the UFS. He was editor of this journal for ten years. “Prof. Barnard played an important role in the development of the journal, especially in the publishing of special editions. When he passed away, he was working on the latest edition of the journal, which deals with the so-called border war,” said Prof. Wessels.

Prof. Barnard was especially well-known for his mentorship to Master’s and Doctoral students. “At the time of his death he was still providing guidance to students,” said Prof. Wessels.

Prof. Barnard did a lot of research and writing for the UFS’s centenary publication, From Grey to Gold – The first 100 years of the University of the Free State.

“We also sympathise with Mrs Renaldine Barnard and the couple’s four daughters, Eda, Arina, Leona and Elfrieda, their two sons in law and one grandchild. Prof. Barnard has left a gap in the hearts of the people who knew and worked with him at the UFS,” said Prof. Wessels.

The memorial service will be held on Friday, 3 April 2009 in the community hall of Vleesbaai in the Western Cape.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel:051 401 2584
Cell:083 645 2454
E-mail:loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
1 April 2009
Prof. Leo Barnard

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