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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

Department of Communication Science honours academic achievers
2009-11-03

Thirteen third-year students from the University of the Free State's (UFS) Department of Communication Science were recently honoured during the Department's top achiever function held on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein. All learners who obtained an average of 70% or higher for their third-year modules were invited to this function.
 
This event was attended by, from the left, back: Leticia Mokone, Neville Jeftha, Nanette Jansen Van Rensburg; front: Dr Dalmé Mulder (Director: Programme for Communication Professions), Prof. RE Moraka (Vice-Rector), Prof. Botes (Dean: Faculty of the Humanities).
The students who were honoured are, from the left, back: Antoinette Rust, Vivien Fourie, Rosemarie Le Roux, Elmarie Lubbe, Renette Nienaber, Neville Jeftha; and in front: Leticia Mokone, Elizabeth Rankhone, Jolandi Bezuidenhout, Ané Cillié, Tamika Moolman, Nanette Jansen Van Rensburg. Absent: Charlotte Moshesh.

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