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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

UFS commemorates 50th anniversary of Africa Day
2013-05-19

14 May 2013

Programme (Pdf)

The University of the Free State will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Africa Day, focusing in depth on issues affecting the continent. Academics from across disciplines will take part in a colloquium on the Bloemfontein Campus on 22 May 2013 discussing issues that influence the development and history of the continent, the challenges it faces, and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Hosted by the Centre for Africa Studies, celebrations will culminate with the annual Africa Day Memorial lecture to be presented by Prof Henning Melber, who will be inaugurated as an extraordinary professor at the centre. Prof Melber will speak on "Africa and Africa(n) Studies: confronting the (mystifying) power of ideology and identity".

Africa Day marks the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. The OAU underwent a name change in July 2002 to become the African Union (AU), but the day is still commemorated to symbolise Africa’s independence from foreign political control and affirms Africa’s quest for durable peace and unity.

The Africa Day Memorial lecture and colloquium will be hosted in the CR Swart Auditorium. Registration for the colloquium takes place from 08:00 until 16:00. The Memorial Lecture begins at 18:00.

Short Biography: Prof Henning Melber (Pdf)

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