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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

Meeting between Prof. Jansen and Mr Julius Malema conducted in a positive spirit
2009-10-31

This morning, Thursday, 29 October 2009, the senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a meeting with the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) as well as SASCO leadership. The delegation was led by Mr Julius Malema, President of the ANCYL.

In a spirit of mutual respect, the two parties outlined their positions on the Reitz matter and the decision of the university management to invite the students back for purposes of learning. President Malema supported the principle of opening the doors of learning but made concrete and useful proposals on how this could be done and, especially, the importance of corrective measures that ensured full integration of the students into the university.

President Malema encouraged the management’s decision to meet with the five workers to hear their representations on a way forward for the university and to address the working conditions of the members of staff.

Both parties agreed that the independent processes led by the Human Rights Commission were critical in building a sense of conciliation and integration for both the workers and the students, and that the university was and should remain a stakeholder in this process.

The delegation also recognised that the university would be continuing its own processes of further consultations, and recommended that the process be opened up to enable all constituencies to bring their own concerns about racial difficulties to an open and safe forum.

“I very much appreciate the positive spirit in which the meeting was conducted, and the clear leadership and constructive proposals offered by President Malema,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“It is open and frank discussions like these that will take both the campus and the country forward in addressing the twin imperatives of racial reconciliation and social justice in South Africa,” said Prof. Jansen.

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  
29 October 2009

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