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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 appoints honoured scholar
2010-08-16

Prof. Johann Neethling

The University of the Free State (UFS) has recently appointed Prof. Johann Neethling as a senior professor in the Faculty of Law. Prof. Neethling is a nationally and internationally recognised expert in the field of Private Law, which is also the department he will be joining.

Throughout his career, he has lectured at various universities in South Africa. He also received numerous awards, including a B1 rating as a researcher from the National Research Foundation (NRF). He enjoys considerable international recognition for his high quality research work and he is a leading international scholar in his field.

Prof. Neethling received various scholarships for research and overseas visits, the most prestigious being the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung scholarships for research on unlawful competition at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany. He also received a graduate fellowship from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has also been awarded an NRF grant of R80 000 per year to conduct research in Belgium and The Netherlands for the period 2009-2014. He will visit these countries in September this year. Prof. Neethling also received an open invitation from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to apply for a renewed stay in Germany at any time.

He is one of the 25 professors selected by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, to enrich the various faculties at the university. Prof. Neethling will be based in Pretoria. His primary focus will be research outputs in conjunction with the Department of Private Law in the Faculty of Law at the UFS.

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

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