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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

Ms Beatrice Marshoff praise documentary on the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe
2004-10-14

The Premier of the Free State , Ms Beatrice Marshoff, has praised the University of the Free State for the initiative to produce a documentary on the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe, the founder of the Basotho nation.

“The University of the Free State could not have chosen a better subject to celebrate its centenary. The life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe is indeed a befitting demonstration that this is Africa ’s century,” Ms Marshoff said in a statement.

The documentary called “The Renaissance King” was shown last night ( Wednesday 13 October 2004 ) for the first time at the UFS. It was commissioned by the UFS as part if its Centenary year and was produced by journalist Max du Preez.

“We wish to congratulate the producers and the university, for such a brilliant idea,” the premier said.

She called on other institutions to also get involved in nation-building projects such as this one.

“Your desire and intention as an institution to take up a new but deserved role in our social transformation agenda, is highly commendable,” Ms Marshoff said in her statement.

Because the premier had to attend to urgent government business she could not attend the function,but her statement was read on her behalf by the MEC for Arts, Sport and Culture, Mr Joe Mafereka.

Dignitaries in the appreciative 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, Rector and Vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, prof. Frederick Fourie.

The documentary on the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe will be screened on SABC 2 on Thursday 4 November 2004 .

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