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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

SIFE students second in national competition
2009-08-21

 
The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team of the University of the Free State (UFS) obtained a second place in the recent national competition held on the campus of the University of Johannesburg. The team, consisting of 80 students from the Main and Qwaqwa Campuses, came first in the category for Entrepreneurship and second in the category for Success Skills, Business Ethics and Financial Literacy. Twenty teams competed in the national competition, of which the University of KwaZulu-Natal will represent SIFE SA in Germany during October 2009. The UFS team who made the presentations was, from the left: Christiaan Steenkamp, a second-year B.Sc. Zoology student; Malefa Bosiu, a first-year LL.B. student; Ms Tessa Ndlovu, Faculty Advisor: SIFE UFS; Zandi Mabizela, a second-year B.Com. Economics student; and Noeleen Thahane, a third-year B.Com. Tourism Management student. Mbulelo Mpofana, a third-year B.Com. Investment Management and Banking student, was absent when the photo was taken.
Photo: Stephen Collett

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