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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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A platform for students by students: Nkanyezi talk @ ufs to be launched on Monday 13 May 2013
2013-05-07

07 May 2013

A group of students from the university took the initiative to create a platform dealing with issues that affect them.

Mr Tate Makgoe, Free State MEC for Education, and Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, will meet with students at the launch of this initiative on Monday 13 May 2013. The topic of the discussion will be: “The importance of an educated nation.” Prof Dennis Francis, Dean of the Faculty of Education, will be joining the conversation as well.

Bongani Zwane, coordinator of the initiative, said Nkanyezi talk @ ufs will give students a platform to voice their thoughts and ideas about issues affecting them during and after their university life. “We want to equip students on how to think, argue and reason like 21st century graduates. We hope to achieve this by having a regular panel discussion with experts as guests to help us understand and tackle local and global issues that affect us as students.”

Join the Nkanyezi talk @ ufs launch in the CR Swart Auditorium

Date: Monday 13 May 2013

Time: 17:30–18:30

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