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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 meets church leaders
2011-09-14

Our university is fully committed to working with community structures whose vision and mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of those who are less fortunate.

These were the words of the Vice-Rector: External Relations, Dr Choice Makhetha, during a recent visit to the Bopanang Stimulation Centre where she met with the Qwaqwa Ministers Forum under the leadership of Elder Tumaka Tlooko and Rev. Paulos Mohatlane.

“We would not be doing justice to ourselves as the university if we are not responsive to the voices of the needy in our communities,” said Dr Makhetha to a hall packed with ministers of different churches from all corners of Qwaqwa.

This one-year-old structure has already seen numerous successes, one of which is the new working relationship with our university’s Qwaqwa Campus, which has committed itself to providing these ministers with short courses to empower them in full.

Bopanang Stimulation Centre was in a festive mood as the children sang songs of worship, thus forgetting their daily challenges caused by their various disabilities.

Dr Makhetha was accompanied by our Qwaqwa Campus Principal, Dr Elias Malete, and the Head of Administration, Teboho Manchu.

 

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