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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 and Kovsies stand against abuse
2014-04-16

The SRC took the lead on Monday by orchestrating a campaign to create awareness and instill consciousness on campuses to act against the abuse of women and children.

During a march from the Thakaneng Bridge to the Main Building on the Bloemfontein Campus, the SRC led students in a Pledge Against Women and Children Abuse to ensure that the UFS community become accountable. The message proclaimed, was one of zero tolerance for the abuse of women and children.

The Dean of Student Affairs, Rudi Buys, addressed students, saying: “No more. This cannot be just another march, but something to speak directly to injustice.”

This campaign was aimed at ensuring that relevant information and services are provided to help women and children. Representatives of Health and Wellness, psychologists and social workers, as well as representatives from the Centre of Trauma Forgiveness and Reconciliation, the Centre for Safety and Security and the Institute of Race and Reconciliation were present during this campaign.
The Vice-Rector: External Relations, Dr Choice Makheta, stressed the point of women and children’s wellbeing, by saying: “As a university we must make sure women are treated well… that children are treated very well.”

Violence against women and children in South Africa happens regardless of age, class or colour. Studies shows 50% of women have been reported experiencing violence at the hands of their intimate partners. Local studies also show that 28% of men have admitted to being rapists. Every hour a child is abused in South Africa.

But Kovsies say “No more! No more!”

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