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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

‘Global financial crisis is far from over’
2012-09-09

At the lecture were, from the left: Dr Arno van Niekerk (Department of Economy), Dr Francois Strydom (Centre for Teaching and Learning), Dr Mallory du Plooy (UFS101), Ms Gill Marcus, Governor of the Reserve Bank, and Lauren Hing and Louise Strydom of the UFS101 office.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar.
6 September 2012

The global financial crisis the world has been experiencing since 2008 is far from over. In fact, Gill Marcus, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, expects it to last for the next five years. “It is the longest financial crisis in history,” she said.

Ms Marcus lectured in the new UFS101 course of the university. The course was implemented at the beginning of the year and is aimed at broadening the world for new first-year students. About 2 000 students are taking the course.

Ms Marcus brought globalisation home and explained how activities in the international area impact on the lives of South Africans. She said South Africa was not excluded from the effect of global crises. Ms Marcus also said that South Africa was one of only a few countries in the world not experiencing a banking crisis due to strict controls in place, but more could be done.

“The big question is how to make sure that the South African banking system stays sound,” she said.

On a question about the debt of South Africans, she said it was important for South Africans to live within their means. “If we want to afford our new development, we need a savings percentage of 25 percent.” South Africa needs foreign capital investment to supplement the low local savings.

“It is difficult to resist all aspects of globalisation. Some can be to our advantage, but the others pose tremendous challenges.”

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