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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

Kovsies present case studies to Tata Africa
2014-04-15

Tata Africa welcomed four top scholarship winners from the University of the Free State’s (UFS’s) Business Management Department who were awarded academic bursaries in 2013 for developing practical marketing strategies for the Tata group companies as part of their studies.

The students presented their winning case studies to a panel of Tata Africa executives and senior managers in Johannesburg.

“The Tata group places social responsibility at the core of its business DNA. This kind of support characterises our commitment to communities where Tata companies operate worldwide,” said Thami Mbele, Managing Director for Tata Africa Holdings.

“The impressive work of the Strategic Marketing students of the University of the Free State’s Business Management Department, who have been using Tata group companies as examples for their practical marketing strategies, deserve recognition,” he added.

To date, Tata has invested R275 000 in the University of the Free State’s talent pool. Over the past six years, Tata Africa has invested over R10 million in scholarships in Africa.

Second-semester students of the Strategic Marketing course, Lebohang Masoabi, Estie Brown, Lynne Harvey and Cecile Boshoff, were given a rare opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge by developing practical marketing strategies for Tata group companies operating in Africa. Students presented their ideas to a panel of UFS and Tata representatives in 2013, and 27 out of 78 groups were selected to compete for academic bursaries sponsored by Tata.

Through its scholarship programme, Tata Africa is committed to investing in future African entrepreneurs, leaders of industry and business.

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