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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 wins national serenade competition
2010-09-07

The men from Veritas show why they won the National “Sêr” competition.
Photo: Provided

After many months’ practice, sweat and late nights, the “sêr” group of Veritas, a men’s residence at the University of the Free State (UFS) managed to make name nationally and bring home a coveted crown.

At the recent National “Sêr” Competition hosted by Stellenbosch University (US), this group of talented young men made a clean sweep when they snatched up the prizes in the Men’s Residence section, the best performance of a song for their gospel medley, as well as the prize for the overall winners.

The competition, which took place at three venues, was attended by approximately 3 000 people. The competition was presented in the Endler Hall of the Music Conservatory of the US and the halls of the Secondary School Bloemhof and Paul Roos Gymnasium. According to Corneil Müller, one of the adjudicators at the Endler Hall, the majority of the adjudicators agreed that Veritas deserved the first prize. The other adjudicators at this hall were Karen Meiring, Bondina Osterhoff, Saranti Rheeders, Leonore Bredekamp and Sidumo Jacobs.

According to the head student of Veritas and second tenor in the “sêr” group, the group did not really expect to win all the prizes. However, when the audience gave them a standing ovation, the group started to think that the first prize really was within their reach.

Their gospel medley is close to the hearts of the entire group. It is the men’s way to say thank you for their talents. “It is a very special song for us – it means a lot to each one in our group,” says Herman. To win the prize with for this medley for the best performance of a song was the cherry on the top for these men. “We did not even know that such a prize existed!” says Herman.

The ladies of Sonnedou Residence’s “sêr” group also participated in the competition. This section of the competition was won by Vergeet-My-Nie from the North-West University (NWU).

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

 

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