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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

The value of sport discussed by international figure
2010-03-31

 
At the presentation were, from the left, front: Ms Corrie Sears, University of Nebraska; Ms Martie Nortje, Corporate Relations at the UFS; back: Dougie Heymans, KovsieSport at the UFS; and Prof. Niel Viljoen, Vice-Rector: Operations.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

 
The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Divisions Corporate Relations and KovsieSport recently hosted the Director of Academic Marketing from the University of Nebraska in the United States of America, Corrie Sears. She conducted a presentation on “The value of sport for a university’s brand.”

According to Ms Sears, branding must be an integral part of a university’s awareness campaigns. This could help to increase attendance on sports days. Ms Sears’s presentation also left attendees with some good examples on creating the right atmosphere on the day that a sports game is played. The University of Nebraska is known for their more than 300 consecutive total sell-outs of their football games.

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