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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

The best black and white learners must come and study here
2009-09-17

 
At the meeting, arranged by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, were from the left: Mr Tshdiso Makoelle, Clocolan High School; Mr Braam van Wyk, St Michael's School in Bloemfontein; Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS); Mr Izak Coetzee, Dr Blok Secondary School in Bloemfontein and Mr Okkie Botha, Witteberg High School in Bethlehem.
Photo: Stephen Collett
 “I want to make this university one of the best universities in the country and in the world. For this I will need the support of principals and teachers.” These were the words of Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS) during a recent meeting with school principals held on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein, which was arranged by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

“I want the best black and white learners to come and study here and therefore I am going to visit schools in the region to find out how we can attract the best learners,” he said.
The most important influence on learners is their teachers and principal. “This why I need the support of teachers and principals to guide their learners to come and study here,” said Prof. Jansen.

Prof. Jansen said that it was of no use to work with Grade 11 and 12 learners only as it was mostly too late to change their minds. He wants to work with Grade 10 learners and make them excited about university life so that they will know what the UFS can offer them. He will also visit poor and rural schools and tell them about the UFS.

“When a Kovsie graduate walks down the street something must distinguish him/her from other graduates. Our graduates must be able to work anywhere in the world,” he said.

“Students must have the ability to live with other people and to be comfortable around people who look and speak differently than them. I want our students to be multi-lingual and to be comfortable around other students and people in terms of religion, race, language, etc. Students who do not have this added value will not be successful in the market,” he said.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
16 September 2009

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