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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

New York academic pays visit to UFS
2010-08-02

 
 Prof. Teboho Moja, a professor of Higher Education at NYU, paid a successful visit to the UFS. Here are, from left: Mr John Samuel, Interim Director: International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, UFS; Dr Bryan Urbsaitis, Assistant-Director of Study Abroad, Pace University, USA; Prof. Moja; Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, UFS; and Dr Olihile Sebolai, Directorate Research Development, UFS.
Photo: Arthur Johnson
 
Prof. Teboho Moja, a professor of Higher Education from New York University (NYU), paid a fruitful visit to the University of the Free State (UFS). During her visit Prof. Moja, who is originally from South Africa, engaged with various stakeholders to further strengthen relations between the UFS and NYU.

Prof. Moja’s research focus is on the change in higher education and the implications of globalisation on higher education systems. As part of her visit to the UFS, Prof. Moja delivered a public lecture, entitled “Diversity oriented transformation for Teaching and Learning”. The lecture was presented by the Directorate Research Development and the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice.

Prof. Moja studied at the University of the Witwatersrand and obtained her Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States of America (USA).

In 1998 she became the first black woman to be appointed as chairperson of the council of the University of South Africa (UNISA). She is also an honorary professor at the University of Pretoria (UP).

On her visit to the UFS Prof. Moja was accompanied by Dr Bryan Urbsaitis from Pace University in New York and Ms Gina Canterucci from NYU. She also led a group of postgraduate students in International Education Studies. These students interacted with fellows from the Grow Our Own Timber Programme of the UFS. The interaction greatly contributed towards enhancing both student groups’ acuity on academic and social matters.

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