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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

Postgraduate School Student Council reaches out to child-headed households
2012-12-03

Members of the Postgraduate School Student Council and some of the children who benefited from their outreach programme
3 December 2012


Our Postgraduate School Student Council, in collaboration with the Postgraduate School Directorate, undertook a community project in 2012, focused on making a difference in the lives of children burdened with supporting themselves without proper parental guidance. The council worked with Child Welfare Bloemfontein and five child-headed households were identified in the greater Mangaung area.

To ensure the success of the project, the council helped to get sponsorships to assist with raising funds and the reception of donations. The council, with the broader postgraduate community, also sought donations from the university community and the public at large. The result was astounding and 12 children were presented with food items, toiletries as well as school uniforms and stationery to the value of R14 500.

An additional R2 000 was donated to Child Welfare for related projects that will benefit other households. This initiative was made possible by the generous support of the UFS-RAG office and the Thakaneng Bridge branches of Friendly Supermarket and Van Schaik Bookstore, Lesedi FM and Kovsie FM, as well as some private donors.

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