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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

Law degree in Reproductive and Sexual Rights introduced
2005-08-26

The Masters of Law degree (LL M) in Human Rights, specialising in Reproductive and Sexual Rights, was introduced at the University of the Free State (UFS) this year.  The programme is the first one of its kind in South Africa to be presented by a tertiary institution and is presented in partnership with the Ford Foundation.

The programme mainly focuses on grooming lawyers from the African continent to play an important role in the realisation of reproductive and sexual rights at national and international level. 

This week's workshop focused on curriculum development for the programme and was attended by delegates from South African and other African universities, and the University of Toronto in Canada .

Front from left:
Prof Rebecca Cook, extraordinary professor at the UFS Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, and Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto; and Prof Charles Ngwena, coordinator of the programme and a member of the UFS Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law

Back from left:
Prof Loot Pretorius, Director of the Centre for Human Rights Studies at the UFS; Ms Mmatsie Mooki, lecturer at the UFS Faculty of Law, and Ms Patience Sone, LL M student at the UFS

PHOTO:  Volksblad


 

 

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