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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

UFS101 students learn from the masters
2013-09-01

 

Letsetja Kganyago (second from the left) and Dr Francois Strydom (on the right, next to him, Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, in discussion with third-year students.
Photo: Stefan Lotter
01 September 2013

 

Huge effort is employed to expose first-year students through the UFS101 programme to the largest possible landscapes of South African politicals, economics and other fields. The lecture that Letsetja Kganyago, Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, delivered in August 2013, was no exception.

About 4 000 students attended the lecture at the Bloemfontein Campus, of which 150 students on the Qwaqwa Campus shared in the proceedings via live streaming. Kganyago discussed the impact of the international financial crisis on South Africa, as well as on the man in the street.

Third-year and postgraduate students also had an opportunity to talk to him during his visit.

The UFS101 programme was bolstered earlier this year through lectures delivered by a judge from the Free State Supreme Court, as well as Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector.

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