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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. 


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Prof. Johan Grobbelaar named as Bloemfonteiner of the Year
2010-09-10

Prof. Johan Grobbelaar.

Prof. Johan Grobbelaar from the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) has been named as Ons Stad, Mimosa Film Group and ABSA’s Bloemfonteiner of the Year for 2009.

Prof. Grobbelaar is honoured for a total of 43 years’ loyal service to Bloemfontein and its people, as well as his invaluable contributions which brought Bloemfontein locally, nationally and internationally into the foreground. He has generated many firsts as well as awards in the field of research. According to Ons Stad, his leadership of the first two experimental research expeditions to Marion Island and other parts of the world has made him a true citizen of the world.

He is also Chairperson of the UVPERSU Union at the UFS and strives towards reconciliation, equity and equality. As one of the “architects” of the UFS remuneration model he has contributed thereto that the UFS’s salary negotiations are now the most successful of all higher education institutions countrywide.

Prof. Grobbelaar is also a Mangaung Councillor who campaigns for the best service to the Bloemfontein community.

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