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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

Kovsies foster closer ties with Asian universities
2012-03-19

 

The UFS’s exhibition at the second International Seminar and QS MasterClass on Internationalisation of Higher Education (iQS) in Thailand.
19 March 2012


We increased our stature in Asia by presenting the International Seminar and QS MasterClass on Internationalisation of Higher Education (iQS) in Thailand in cooperation with four universities from the region.

The UFS presented the seminar together with Mahasarakham University of Thailand, Guangxi University for Nationalities in China, Universiti Teknologi Malayisiaand the University of the Philippines Diliman. The UFS’s involvement in the seminar is the result of a cooperation agreement that was signed with Mahasarakham University, the host of the seminar. The UFS is the first university in Africa that has a cooperation agreement with Mahasarakham.
 
Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic, and Prof. Annette Wilkinson, Professor-Researcher at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, represented the UFS. They ensured that delegates to the seminar were aware of what was happening at Kovsies. Prof. Hay took part in a panel discussion. She also delivered a paper in which she looked at the implications of internationalisation on curricula. The UFS also had an exhibition at the event.
 
Prof. Wilkinson said the seminar offers universities in that part of the world the opportunity to improve their position internationally by exchanging knowledge and ideas. She said the approximately 130 delegates showed considerable interest in the UFS.
“A number of Mahasarakham University’s lecturers and management, as well as some of the other delegates, expressed an interest in visiting the UFS and in fostering closer ties.”

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