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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

Six Kovsies Stanford College
2014-05-30


Back, from the left: Rudi Buys (Dean: Student Affairs), Philip Kitsopoulos (BCom Law), Ulrich Kristen (Medicine) and Stephan Erasmus (Medicine).
Front, from the left: Sebabatso Makafane (Nursing), Kaylene Pillay (Psychology) and Vuyisile Kubeka (BA Media and Journalism).

Six Kovsie students were selected to attend a three-week seminar at the Stanford Sophomore Collegein September 2014.

Stanford Sophomore College (SoCo) is an immersive learning experience. Participants attend class meetings during the morning and afternoons include class activities, explorations of Stanford, field trips and organised events.

UFS students were invited to apply for one of six SoCo courses in February 2014. After the long wait, the successful Kovsie applicants were recently announced.

The names of these outstanding Kovsie students are:

  • Sebabatso Makafane, Vuyisile Kubeka and Philip Kitsopoulos – all attending the New Millennium Mix: Crossings of Race and Culture course,
  • Ulrich Kristen – attending the Resistance Writings in Nazi Germany course,
  • Kaylene Pillay – attending the Ghost Stories: Why the Dead Return and What They Want From Us course, and
  • Stephan Erasmus– attending the Responses to the AIDS Epidemic course.

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