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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. 


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Good practice discussed during workshop of the ACU Benchmarking Programme
2012-09-10

 From the left are: Prof. John Brennan, assessor from the Open University in the UK; Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic, UFS; Mr Cliff Wragg, ACU Benchmarking Programme Manager; Prof. Ellen Hazelkorn, assessor from Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland; and Mr Mike Gallagher, Executive Director of Go8 in Australia.
Photo: Johan Roux
10 September 2012

The ACU University Management Benchmarking Programme presented a workshop on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) from 27 to 29 August 2012.

The programme offers a unique and cost-effective opportunity for participating universities to compare their key management processes with those in a range of other universities. This helps to identify areas for change and assists in setting targets for improvement and identifying techniques for managing change. The outcomes of the programme provide models of good practice. It creates the opportunity for networking and a workshop, guided by internationally acknowledged subject experts. This year representatives from universities in among others Australia, the South Pacific, Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa attended the workshop. The topics discussed were financial management, managing league tables and ranking and managing graduate outcomes.
 

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