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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

More international recognition for Vice-Chancellor
2013-09-27

27 September 2013

Two international awards will be bestowed on Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), in the coming months for his dedication to Education.

These awards will add to the multiple international and local achievements and awards Prof Jansen has received this year.

He will join the ranks of laureates of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) during the organisation’s 49th Biennial Conference in Dallas, Texas, from 24 to 26 October 2013. KDP is an international honour society in education, founded by Dr William Bagley at the University of Illinois in 1911. It was established to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among those dedicated to teaching. KDP comprises 600 chapters and more than 40 000 members.

On 18 May 2014, the University of Vermont in the USA will confer an honorary doctorate on Prof Jansen for his passionate leadership in higher education and his contributions as scholar to benefit students across the world.

In June 2013, Prof Jansen received the Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa in New York at a joint function of Education Africa and Brand South Africa. He joined a list of recipients including Sir Bob Geldof, Sir Richard Branson and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. The Education Africa Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa is a highly-regarded recognition on the world stage, awarded to individuals who focus the attention of the global community on the obstacles some of the poorest African nations face.

The University of California in the USA awarded him the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance. The award is made in recognition of persons who exemplify in their work the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in the diverse local and global society.

Also in the United States, Prof Jansen has been invited to be Messenger Lecturer for Fall 2013 at Cornell University. He will give three lectures and interact with the students and staff of Cornell at various functions.

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