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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

ANC Centenary Seminars resume on the Bloemfontein Campus
2012-03-12

12 March 2012

In 2011, as a run-up to the African National Congress (ANC) Centenary Celebrations, the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a series of dialogues about the ANC to encourage debate and academic discourse.

The series of dialogues resumes this year as the party continues to celebrate 100 years of existence.

The first of three ANC Centenary Seminars for 2012 will start on Wednesday 14 March 2012 on the Bloemfontein Campus. The first seminar is dedicated to the Women’s League and Prof. Shireen Hassim, a professor in Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, is the guest speaker. She will speak on the topic “Rethinking Gender: The ANC and Feminism in the 20th century”.

Prof. Hassim has published widely in the areas of social justice, social policy and gender as well as on representative politics. She is the author of Women’s organizations and democracy in South Africa: Contesting authority (2006). She was awarded the Victoria Shuck Award for best book on women and politics by the American Political Science Association in 2007. She is also co-editor of several books, most recently Go home or die here: Xenophobia, violence and the reinvention of difference in South Africa.

  • Venue: Odeion
  • Time: 18:00

 

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