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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

Students awarded bursaries for books
2011-03-09

The Interim Student Council (ISC) of the University of the Free State (UFS)

The Interim Student Council (ISC) of the University of the Free State (UFS) decided to search its own heart in order to alleviate poverty amongst its students.

Thirteen university students recently received bursaries for the purchasing of books at an event at a coffee house on campus. 
 
Ms Modieyi Motholo, ISC chairperson, indicated that she noticed during the registration period that students were struggling to purchase text books, after which she and her team graciously made money from their budget available for the bursary. “We decided at the start of our term to serve the students and to look after their needs. In this case, we noticed a need amongst students and thus reacted to that,” she said.
 
Bursary holders had to meet certain criteria, amongst which the overcoming of socio-economic circumstances. At the event they were also awarded certificates of felicitation as well as rewards for their hard work.
 
Modieyi, on behalf of the ISC, voiced their hope that future student leaders would continue with this project.

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