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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 Qwaqwa student off to the USA
2010-03-29

Ayanda Xaba.
Photo: Supplied
Ayanda Xaba, a second-year student from the Department of Political Science of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Qwaqwa Campus, has been selected as a participant in the Africa English Language Study Programme. The programme is organised by the United States Embassy in Pretoria and 30 candidates from all over Africa have been selected for a training programme of two months in the USA.

Ayanda shall be an incumbent at the University of Delaware (UD) from 21 June-18 August 2010. The programme focuses on language acquisition, leadership skills building and civic education and engagement. The UD programme will include a cultural component that comprises excursions and meetings with civic organisations, journalists, local, state and federal officials that focus on government, media, and other relevant topics.

Although English language acquisition is the main focus of this exchange, grantees will also participate in a leadership seminar and complete a hands-on service project (student-led, staff-supported) in which grantees will volunteer in a niche area that has applicability in their home countries. As a part of this project, participants will develop an action plan outlining steps to initiate and implement a project appropriate to their home community. In order to increase the likelihood of implementation of the project upon their return home, relevant UD staff will provide follow-on online support, trouble-shooting, and monitoring after their departure from campus.

Ayanda has selected to be involved in a programme on Career Guidance for university students. She hopes to implement the training on the Qwaqwa Campus upon her return.

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