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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

King Letsie III wishes Moshoeshoe project every success
2004-10-14



King Letsie III of Lesotho attaches great importance to the Moshoeshoe project of the University of the Free State (UFS) and wishes it every success.

This was the message of King Letsie III to the audience that attended the première of the documentary on King Moshoeshoe, the founder of the Basotho nation, at the UFS last night ( Wednesday 13 October 2004).

The message was read on his behalf by Lesotho’s Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Dr Mamphono Khaketla.

Dr Khaketla said that through this important initiative the UFS is sending an important message that the current and future leadership can learn useful lessons from past great leaders such as King Moshoeshoe.

She said the screening of the documentary on King Moshoeshoe was a joyous occasion where the leadership attributes of a great Basotho King, who lived more than two hundred years ago, have been captured on film.

“The initiative which has brought us together, demonstrates the importance which the University of the Free State attaches to leadership, particularly in our southern African region,” she said.

Dignitaries in the audience included the Lesotho Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Dr Mamphono Khaketla, Queen Mopeli, the MEC for Education, Ouma Tsopo, the MEC for Safety and Liaison, Tate Makgoe, the Director General of the Free State, Dr Khotso de Wee, the Senior Private Secretary to King Letsie III, Mr Mabotse Lerotholi, the Vice-chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, Dr Mothibe, Acting Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Mr Jobo Molapo, Chairman of the Council of the University of the Free State, Judge Faan Hancke, and Rector and Vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, Prof. Frederick Fourie.

The documentary on the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe was commissioned by the UFS as part of its Centenary year. It was produced by journalist Max du Preez and it will be screened on SABC 2 on Thursday 4 November 2004.
 

Info here

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