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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 Theology appoints scholar from Yale University
2010-03-11

 
Prof. Adriaan Neele
Photo: Stephen Collett


Prof. Adriaan Neel from Yale University in New Haven in the United States of America recently delivered his inaugural lecture as Professor Extraordinary in the Department of Ecclesiology at the University of the Free State (UFS). His inaugural lecture coincided with the official opening of the Jonathan Edwards Center Africa in the Faculty of Theology of the UFS.

The appointment of Prof. Neele as Professor Extraordinary in the Department of Ecclesiology follows the vast growth of the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa.

Prof. Neele delivered his inaugural address on: A Transitional Moment in Theology where he argued for the classicality and catholicity of Edwards’ theology.

In his lecture Prof. Neele concluded: “In the midst of the challenging and changing times of 1737-42 of New England’s history and theology, Edwards revisited fundamental questions of theological prolegomena. The formulation of his answers demonstrated not only continuity and discontinuity but also a demanding appropriation of intellectual thought, that of the catholicity and classicality of theology. The discourse was drafted and heard in Northampton, published in 1788, and soon afterwards forgotten; yet its message was timeless, ‘Practice according to what knowledge you have. This will be the way to know more’.

“The appointment at this prestige university of Southern Africa is both an honour and humbling. I look forward to a beneficial and academic engagement with students, as well as to serve the academy and the church,” Prof. Neele said.

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