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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 deserves right to decisions
2010-08-15

Following visits of various youth formations to the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Rector and Vice-Chancellor, as well as the Dean of Student Affairs the past week, the university sees the need to remind all stakeholders and outside organisations that, although their views and inputs may be welcomed, the university reserves the right to make decisions regarding student matters and protect our students against suspected influences.

This reminder follows a series of meetings with organisations such as amongst others the Afriforum Youth and the ANC Youth League and subsequent media releases by some of these organisations, which often do not reflect correctly the nature and content of the discussions.

“While we welcome engagement with any organisation serving a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic agenda and regularly invite civil society organisations to dialogue with and assist us in student matters, we reserve the right to decide how to best serve interest of our students,” said Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs at the UFS.

“In our attempt to construct a value-driven, ethically sound and mature student governance environment, we also expect of stakeholders to ensure they engage us maturely and ethically at all times,” Mr Buys said.

“We will guard against organisations that may, under a guise of civil society engagement, wish to continue dysfunctional party-political cultures that fuel divisions and racial tensions among our students. In such cases where organisations by their conduct may prove themselves to do exactly that, we will have no other option but to refuse them entry to campus and set limits to their engagement of our students,” Mr Buys warned.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg.)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
14 August 2010
 

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