Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

South Africans can be first movers
2014-04-29

 
Dr Liz Lange, Prof Hussein Solomon, Minister Naledi Pandor and Prof Nicky Morgan
Photo: Johan Roux
Minister of Home Affairs, Naledi Pandor, recently addressed staff, students and members of the community at the CR Swart Auditorium, UFS.

During a public lecture hosted by the Department of Political Studies and Governance, in collaboration with the Free State Legislature, Pandor spoke about The Role of Intellectuals and Academics in moving South Africa forward. She challenged young minds to become the innovative game changers of tomorrow and stressed the importance of tertiary education and its impact on national developments.

“Our country and the world need large quantities of undergraduate institutions,” said Pandor. “We need new innovative partnerships. Private sector research and public sector research need to be married. And we as government should promote private sector development.”

Referring to the breakthrough for South Africa on Africa Day 2012, Pandor made it clear that South Africans have the potential to be first movers, although it has not always been the case. It was announced on Africa Day 2012 that Africa had been named as the preferred site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope (http://www.ska.ac.za/releases/20120525.php). This undertaking contributed immensely in fuelling the interest in science and technology among South Africans.

“We cannot rely on the same things always. We as South Africans are not usually the first movers. We tend to adopt innovations from elsewhere. But, we need to do more to initiate innovative start-ups … especially in the fields of IT and high-tech innovations.”

Conclusively, this leads to the question of whether we as South African are doing enough to further build a new generation of intellectuals?

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept