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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

Business leaders impressed with our university
2011-08-18

 

David Nkwenkweza, an employee of the Unit for Students with Disabilities at the UFS, with from the left: Gerhard Joubert, Head: Group Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at PPS Insurance; Tsholo Diale, Corporate Social Investment Manager at Afrisam, and Mpho Letlapo CEO of the Sasol Inzalo Fund
Photo: Phelekwa Mpono

Business leaders from some of South Africa’s top companies visited our Bloemfontein Campus on Tuesday, 16 August 2011. Business leaders, which included chief executive officers (CEOs) and top managers from companies, such as Intel, First National Bank and Mediclinic flew in from Johannesburg. They were taken on a trip around campus, meeting university staff and students.

The purpose of the visit was to introduce them to the UFS and some of its projects. It was furthermore to share ideas about what role the university need to play in preparing future leaders for the market place.
 
Walking around campus, the group of business leaders visited the different faculties, some departments, as well as the bustling Thakaneng Student Centre.
 
Ms Mpho Lethlapo, CEO of the Sasol Inzalo Fund, said the UFS campus was different from what she had envisioned. She was impressed with our Unit for Students with Disabilities and said the outstanding facilities at the unit were a necessity as people with disabilities form part of society.
 
Mr Pule Mokoena, Group Executive: Sales and Marketing of Innovation said his trip to the university was an eye-opener as he had certain perceptions about the university. He expressed admiration towards Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, and said his outlook towards learning was commendable. Mr Mokoena furthermore said the people on the UFS campus were more open-minded than what he had expected and said everywhere he went staff said they only wanted what was best for their students. According to Mr Mokoena, Kovsie students are the type of graduates business leaders want to employ.
 

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