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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

More accolades for Golden Key Chapter
2012-07-26

 
The Golden Key UFS Chapter Executive Committee during one of their community projects. Here are, from the left back: Billy Tshanjane, Mitz Dames and Lehlohonolo Mofekeng; middle: Keneiloe Kgnare and Siphe Mahlaba; front: Kim Drude.
26 July 2012

The world’s largest academic honour society, Golden Key International Honour Society, has again recognised excellence at the university, awarding the University of the Free State (UFS) chapter an International Chapter Service Award.

It is the third consecutive year that the chapter has received the award which is awarded to ten of the more than 375 chapters worldwide. Based on the society’s values of academic excellence, leadership and community service, the chapter was awarded 1000 US dollars (about R8400).

In March this year, the chapter received another accolade when Dr Derek Swemmer, Registrar and co-advisor of the chapter, was appointed chairperson of the governing body of the society. Dr Swemmer became the first South African to serve in this position of this prestige academic society.

Kim Drude, Golden Key UFS Chapter President, says the chapter will continue making a difference in the community. “We may now go out there and make the changes at our current major community service project, the Talita Cumi Orphanage Home and School.

"Commitment and dedication will always be rewarded and this award is an indication that our hard work has, without a doubt, paid off.”
 

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