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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

Mosa Leteane introduces new era in student leadership
2014-10-02

The month of August belonged to South African women – in more ways than one. Not only did we celebrate Women’s Month, but our Student Representative Council (SRC) gained a female leader.

On 4 September 2014 Mosa Leteane became the first female SRC president at the UFS Bloemfontein Campus under the revised SRC constitution of 2011. Although her journey has been a hard and difficult one, it rewarded her with great insightful and invaluable experience.

Being elected to this seat is a milestone for female leadership as a whole at Kovsies. Having been the Prime of House NJ van der Merwe Residence, Marketing Officer of the premier Golden Key Society, Executive Committee member for the 2013/2014 SRC Legal and Constitutional Affairs – and being a legal student herself – Leteane brings a lot of experience to student governance.

Accountability is one of her core values– and that is exactly what she envisions to bring to the newly-elected SRC. Leteane also believes that having a moral sense is essential to the functioning of her SRC. Being a political science or legal student does not automatically imply high morals, Leteane adds. Rather, principles are fostered by the contribution that you want to make.

Something she is proud to have inherited from the previous SRC is the establishment of a blueprint for student governance and understanding team dynamics. These things define the success of any SRC.

With the amount of work lying ahead, Leteane says, she will draw strength from family and friends – and listen to some music.

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