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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

Teachers from America attend SAFEFE conference
2009-08-07

 
At the conference were, from the left: Ms Zandile Gxwati, Director: General Education and Training, Free State Department of Education, Prof. Klopper Oosthuizen, Director of SAFEFE and associated with the Department of Agricultural Economics at the UFS, Prof. John Brock, Director: Centre for Economic Education, University of Colorado, USA and Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, UFS.
Photo: Lacea Loader


A delegation of 12 teachers from 12 different states in the United States of America (USA) visited Bloemfontein this week to attend a conference at Bain’s Game Lodge presented by the University of the Free State’s (UFS) South African Foundation for Economic and Financial Education (SAFEFE). Amongst others, the conference aimed to inform the teachers about education in the province and the importance of the ongoing involvement of universities in the R-12 school system. The conference was also attended by representatives from the Free State Department of Education.

The group of teachers form part of a larger delegation of 28 teachers from the USA who are currently visiting South Africa. The delegation is part of the Council for Economic Education (CEE) in the USA’s Economics International Programme that is presented at the UFS in cooperation with SAFEFE. The teachers are visiting several schools in the country to gain experience about the South African school system.

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