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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 Celebrates Africa Day
2013-05-24

 

At the Africa Day Memorial lecture was, in front from left: Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations; Prof Henning Melber and Prof Heidi Hudson, Head of the Centre for Africa Studies. At the back is Prof Lucius Botes, Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities.
Photo: Stephen Collett
24 May 2013


Prof Henning Melber: Lecture (pdf)

The University celebrated the 50th anniversary of Africa Day by hosting the annual Africa Day Memorial lecture. Hosted by the Centre for Africa Studies (CAS), celebrations included a day-long colloquium which looked at the continent from various disciplines.

Delivering the Africa Day and also his inaugural lecture, Prof Henning Melber, Extraordinary Professor at CAS, spoke about the mystifying power of ideology and identity with regard to Africa and Africa (n) studies.

Before his lecture, senior professors from different faculties took part in a colloquium, delivering papers on a variety of topics relevant to the continent. In a session on historical-political legacies, Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the Department of Political Science, spoke about Critical Terrorism Studies and its implications for Africa. He was joined by Prof Jo van As, Head of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, who spoke about the legacy of colonialism on the conservation of Africa’s river systems. Others topics which were addressed, included the development of sign language, cardiac medicine and science and mathematics education in Africa.

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