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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 academics to present papers at Conference on Calvin Research
2010-07-05

Prof. Dolf Britz, Director: Jonathan Edwards Center Africa at the UFS, will be one of three UFS keynote speakers at the 10th International Congress on Calvin Research.
Photo: Provided


Three scholars from the University of the Free State (UFS) were invited to participate as keynote speakers at the 10th International Conference on Calvin Research that will be hosted by the UFS from 22-27 August 2010. 

“Hosting this conference is seen as an exceptional achievement since the conference represents an international, high-profiled and specialised research community where invitation to present research results is based on proven academic outputs, innovation and original research,” said Prof. Dolf Britz, Director: Jonathan Edwards Center Africa at the UFS. Prof. Britz will, as keynote speaker, present a paper on Calvin's exposition of a Biblical text that played a significant role in the ‘Freedom Struggle’ in South Africa.

The programme for the Conference on Calvin Research also provides for two workshops specially designed for postgraduate students. This will be facilitated by international scholars and the focus will be on research methodology and the academic competencies to write a dissertation.

A student from the UFS, Rev. Ntabanyane Tseuao, was selected to present a short paper at the conference. He is one of three postgraduate students who are from the Theological University Apeldoorn in the Netherlands and the University of Tübingen in Germany, respectively.

Prof. Erik de Boer, an Extraordinary Professor and Research Fellow at the UFS and Mr Eric Kayayan, a Research Fellow at the UFS, will also be keynote speakers at the conference.

Two other academics from the UFS, Prof. Adriaan Neele, an Extraordinary Professor and Research Fellow and Dr Victor d’Assonville, a Research Fellow, will also present papers.

The participation of these academics in the conference is the result of an initiative that started eight years ago to cluster South African research on Classical and Reformation Theology at the University of the Free State. - Leonie Bolleurs

 

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