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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

Marjolein Sêr Group to compete in America
2009-04-03

 
Prof. Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector: Student Affairs at the UFS and the Sêr Group of Majolein residence.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
A group of 17 female students from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Marjolein Hostel have been selected to represent the university in an international a capella singing competition in New York, USA on 18 April 2009.

It is the first time that a South African singing group will take part in this competition.

The group has been singing together with coach Ms Marisan Nienkemper since 2006. In that year they obtained a second place and in 2008 they won the UFS’s serenade competition as well as received the prize for the best newly-composed a capella song. They also competed in the national university serenade competition in August 2008.

Ms Nienkemper contacted Ms Amanda Newman, the executive director of Varsity Vocals in the USA at the end of last year. Based on a video audition, she invited the group to compete in the international competition. She also regarded the group as having a high standard.

“We are extremely proud of Marjolein. Student life is an important part of higher education institutions and of the total development of students. The fact that one of our residences qualified for this competition is an indication of the vibrancy of our student life,” said Prof. Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector: Student Affairs of the UFS.

The group will be leaving South Africa on 11 April 2009. The competition will take place at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

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  
2 April 2009

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