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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

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu visiting the UFS once again
2012-07-13

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
13 July 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) will once again be honoured by the presence of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Wednesday 18 July 2012.

Dr Tutu will be speaking at our Bloemfontein Campus for the first session of a two-day “In Conversation With …”event that is part of the Global Leadership Summit currently being held on the campus.

This sessions starts at 09:30 at the Centenary Complex. The media is invited to attend this session.

Dr Tutu will be in dialogue with Prof. Mark Solms, Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town and owner of the Solms-Delta Wine Estate in Franschhoek.

The theme for this conversation, facilitated by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, will be “Living Reconciliation: Winds of Change in Franschhoek and Transformation at Solms-Delta Wine Estate”. This is based on the transformation introduced by Solms on his farm in the Franschhoek Valley.

Prof. Gobodo-Madikizela is a Senior Research Professor on trauma, forgiveness and reconciliation at the UFS.

As owner of Solms-Delta Wine Estate in Franschhoek, Prof. Solms led an initiative to transform the lives of farm workers on the estate through the Wijn de Caab Trust. This initiative was extended to empower the wider community of farm dwellers when Prof. Solms co-founded the Delta Trust and the Franschhoek Valley Transformation Charter. This organisation aims to break trans-generational cycles of social division and inequality in the valley.

The dialogue with Dr Tutu will highlight the significance of these initiatives as examples of deepening the link between socially responsive scholarship, commitment to social justice and responsible citizenship in contemporary South Africa.

Last year, the UFS awarded Dr Tutu an honorary doctorate in Theology, marking a milestone in the history of the university.

At 12:30, Dr Tutu will visit the Red Square in front of the UFS Main Building, where he will join in the fundraising festivities for the university’s official Nelson Mandela Day event and deliver a short address.

Schools in the vicinity, UFS staff and students and the public are invited to take part in the R5 coin laying ceremony in front of the Main Building.

The money collected at this event will be used to benefit the No Student Hungry (NSH) campaign as well as Bloemfontein Child Welfare.
 

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