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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 teams up with Kagiso Trust
2010-08-11

Prof. Jonathan Jansen (Rector and Vice-chancellor of the UFS) and Mr Khotso Schoeman (Chief Executive Officer of the Kagiso Trust).

Photo: Gerhard Louw

The University of the Free State (UFS) has signed an agreement with Kagiso Trust to host a series of memorial lectures and discussions commemorating the life of clerical activist Beyers Naudé. Naudé strove against his pro-Nationalist Party upbringing to help the anti-apartheid struggle. He was pivotal in starting dialogue, in South Africa and abroad, concerning apartheid. It is because of his willingness to discuss issues in open dialogue that Kagiso Trust decided to honour him.

These lectures aim to involve students and staff from all the UFS campuses, as well as the Free State community in general, to talk critically about societal issues and challenges, while celebrating the life of Beyers Naudé.

The lectures will continue at the UFS for three years and a different theme related to the main idea will be chosen each year. Each theme will have subthemes guiding discussions among students and staff on the three campuses of the UFS. The theme for this year’s lecture is “Crafting a legacy”.

The launch of the memorial lecture series at the UFS will be on the Main Campus on Monday, 13 September 2010. In 2011 the activities will move to the Qwaqwa Campus of the university.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
11 August 2010
 

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