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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 Faculty of Law helps to establish a FS Forum on Human Trafficking
2009-10-12

The Unit for Children’s Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) is a member of the Trafficking Action Group that recently hosted an Indaba on Human Trafficking in Bloemfontein.

Adv. Beatri Kruger from the Department of Criminal and Medical Law and the Unit for Children’s Rights at the UFS gave a presentation at the Indaba on the South African legal response to combating human trafficking. Prof. Susan Kreston, Research Fellow at the Centre for Psychology and the Law at the UFS, was also a speaker at this event. She spoke, amongst others, about trafficking between South Africa and neighbouring countries and also gave some practical guidelines on how to prevent human trafficking.

Apart from creating awareness, various role players identified cases of human trafficking, which led the Indaba to realise that this crime is prevalent in the Free State, especially in Bloemfontein. Many problems that need to be addressed were identified at the Indaba. Consequently, a forum consisting of the most relevant role players was mobilised to proceed with the work to realise the goal of handling complicated human trafficking cases effectively.

The three-day Indaba was attended by more than 120 delegates from various key governmental departments such as the SAPS, Social Development, Health, Immigration and several civil societies, including Child Welfare Bloemfontein/Childline, Famsa, the Thuthuzela Centre, the Free State Network on Violence against Women, the Aurora Clinic, academia from the UFS, various churches and private-sector businesses.

At the event were, from the left: Ms Matshidiso Ntsiuoa from Childline Free State and Child Welfare Bloemfontein; Adv. Beatri Kruger from the Department of Criminal and Medical Law at the UFS; Ms Zine Mogorosi, Absa Regional Manager: Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs; Ms Motsedisi Shale from Lesotho Save the Children/Childline Lesotho; and Pastor Busi Khumalo from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

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