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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

Esteemed international Council advises the UFS
2013-03-26

 

In front, from the left are: Prof Alice Pell, Vice-Provost for International Relations, Cornell University in the USA; Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS; Ms Jane Evans, Director of Ntataise Early Child Development Network Support Programme in South Africa; Mr Gert Grobler, Ambassador of South Africa to Madagascar and alumnus of the UFS. At the back, from the left are: Prof Joel Samoff, Professor in African Studies, Stanford University in the USA; Prof Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Institutional Affairs of the UFS; Prof Masafumi Nagao, Project Professor at the Graduate School for Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo; and Prof Akilagpa Sawyerr, former Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Ghana. Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Deputy President of South Africa, was absent when the photo was taken.
Photo: Sonia Small
27 March 2013

The International Advisory Council (IAC) of the University of the Free State (UFS) is visiting the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses this week as part of its biennial meeting with the university leadership. The Council, consisting of seven leading academics, business leaders and policy makers, are advising the leadership on how well we perform against international benchmarks in research, teaching, service and transformation. The Council also acts as advocates for the university in their own spheres of influence.


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