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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

ULM staff attend MIDP symposium in Belgium
2009-10-14

 
Staff members of the Unit for Language Management (ULM) at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently returned from the second international MIDP symposium, “Multilingualism from below”, which was held at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. The symposium arose from a co-operation project between the Province of Antwerp (also the sponsos of the project), the Free State Province and the UFS.

In terms of this agreement, assistance is provided to the Free State Province with regard to the development and consolidation of institutional multilingualism. Research concerning aspects of multilingualism arises from this focus. Such research has been undertaken within the area where the UFS’s KhulaXhariep Project is being conducted since 2008. Three of the papers that were delivered at the congress covered aspects of multilingualism from below, as encountered in the Xhariep. Other papers delivered by members of the ULM focused on problematic aspects of language-related issues in South Africa.

Ms Chrismi-Rinda Kotzé, research assistant and MA student at the ULM, was the recipient of an award for the best lecture delivered by a pre-doctoral student at an MIDP symposium. She shares the prize with Cécile Petitjean. A total of 8 of the 35 lectures at the symposium were delivered by pre-doctoral students from various countries. Ms Kotzé was the only South African student at the symposium. Pictured are the delegates who attended the symposium.
Photo: Supplied

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