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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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UFS saddened by the passing of MEC for Health
2012-12-03

03 December 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) is deeply saddened by the passing of the MEC for Health in the Free State provincial legislature, the Honourable Ms Fezi Ngubentombi.

She had attended a rally and the launch of a day-care centre with pres. Jacob Zuma in Qwaqwa on Saturday. MEC Ngubentombi and one of her bodyguards, Sergeant BC Motaung, were killed in the single vehicle crash on Saturday night just outside Bloemfontein.
 
MEC Ngubentombi was a strong partner in the development and transformation of the Health Sciences at the UFS and will be sorely missed. She also supported the UFS with the work done around the Charlotte Maxexe Memorial Lecture.
 
In the words of the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof. Jonathan Jansen: “MEC Fezi, as she was fondly known, was a decent human being, a committed activist, and the consummate professional in the way we worked together to advance health and health education in the province.”

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