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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

Staff attended Language Congress
2005-08-17

Ten staff members and students of the University of the Free State (UFS) recently attended the annual Language Congress of South Africa at the University of Pretoria (UP).

At the congress the prize for the best first paper delivered at a linguistics conference was awarded to Ms Susan Lombaard from the  Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment (ULFE) at the UFS for her paper titled ”Translation from one medium to another: The translation of Biblical parts into South African Sign Language”. 

This is the first time that a member of the UFS has been awarded this prize at a linguistics congress, and it is also the first time that the prize has been awarded for a paper dealing with Sign Language. 

Some of the UFS staff members who attended the congress are standing from left Mr Philemon Akach, lecturer at the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies and Language Practice and Sign Language; Prof  Theo du Plessis, Director: ULFE; Prof Jakkie Naudé, from the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies and Language Practice and Sign Language and Prof Alf Jenkinson, from the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French.

In the front from left are Ms Stephanie Cawood, from the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies and Language Practice and Sign Language; Dr Angelique van Niekerk, from the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French and Ms Susan Lombaard, from the ULFE.

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