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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

These boots are made for walking ... to Cape Town
2014-04-24

On Thursday 1 May 2014, four pairs of feet gave their first stride on a journey that will last for 33 days and stretch over 1 000 kilometres.

These feet belong to four very brave volunteers who will walk all the way to the Cape in order to highlight the problem of food insecurity among students.

Adéle van Aswegen and Ntokozo Nkabinde from the University of the Free State (UFS), together with Ronél Warner and Nico Piedt, both from Bloemfontein, are undertaking this hike as part of a fund-raising effort for the UFS’s No Student Hungry bursary (NSH bursary).

The NSH bursary, established in 2011 by Prof Jonathan Jansen, the UFS’s Vice-Chancellor and Rector, and Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, is aimed at alleviating food insecurity among students at the UFS.

The food bursary is awarded on the grounds of financial need, good academic performance, active participation in student-life programmes and a commitment to community service.

“The NSH bursary of about R30 per student forms only a small part of a student’s day, but it makes a huge difference in their lives,” says Vicky Simpson, coordinator of this programme offering assistance to more than 100 students.

You can follow our hikers’ progress on Twitter by using the #NSHstride. We will also keep you updated on Facebook and our website.

Meanwhile, everyone is invited to show their support for the hikers in a fun way. Take a picture of your foot (or feet), tweet the photo with #NSHstride @UFSweb or post it on your Facebook page and challenge all your friends to do the same.

Daily updates:
(You can also follow us on @UFSweb for daily tweets)

Day 14: 14 May 2014
18:33
43 km
Joalani Guest Farm

Day 13: 13 May 2014
17:30
33 km
Die Rondawels

Day 12: 12 May 2014
16:49
40 km
Aandrus B&B in Richmond

Day 11: 11 May 2014
39 km
Wortelfontein (Magdel and Christiaan)

Day 10: 10 May 2014
15:44
34 km
Hanover Lodge

Day 9: 09 May 2014
40.8 km
Camping between Colesberg and Hanover

Day 8: 08 May 2014
15:25
33.7 km
Colesberg, The Lighthouse Guesthouse

Day 7: 07 May 2014

15:08
23 km
Orange River Lodge

Day 6: 06 May 2014
15:57

51.06 km
Gariep Forever Resort

Day 5: 05 May 2014
12:18
28 km
Rondefontein

Day 4: 04 May 2014
15:27

35 km
Trompsburg: Fox Den

Day 3: 03 May 2014
17:30
46.74 km
Edenburg Country Lodge (Hotel)

Day 2: 02 May 2014
11:44 am
15.3 km
Tom's Place

Day 1: 01 May 2014
32 km
Leeuwberg

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