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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

SRC drawing deeply from the African continent’s well of wisdom
2013-06-01

 

Some of the SRC members who are visiting Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. From left are: Tshepang Lenka, Johan Steyn, Thabiso Molawude, William Clayton, Sibongile Mlotya, Tshepo Moli and Pieter Coetzee.
Photo: Thabo Kessah
14 June 2013

The student representative councils (SRC) from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses are currently visiting Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya as part of the university’s Global Leadership Programme (GLP). The student leaders left on 9 June 2013 for a two-week trip to these countries, meeting with NGO’s, businesses and political leaders to gain insight and leadership skills. Their trip will also include a visit to the Kigali and the Nyamata Genocide Museums.

The University of the Free State has a long history of mentoring and fostering student leadership through international partnerships.The GLP was established in 2011 by Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector. The programme identifies the need for dynamic and innovative leadership in a country faced with many challenges.

During 2011 the SRC had the opportunity to tour the United States, but this year’s aim shifted to partnering with African Institutions. The focus is currently on the African continent and the lessons that can be learned from each of these countries. During the students’ visit to Rwanda – where they will spend six days – they will pay special attention to elements of leadership and reconciliation. This theme ties closely into the process of transformation and reconciliation at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The SRC has a travel-blog where they constantly post information, facts and their experiences during their visit to these African countries. They are set to return on Sunday 23 June 2013.

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