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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

Messages and mail – what people say about Kovsies
2014-10-02

 
Letters from Kovsie students, parents, the community and even visitors to our university from across the globe regularly pour into our mailboxes and onto our social media pages.

To give you a glimpse of what they say about our institution, here are a few examples:

•    If you continue with this innovative thinking then the UFS will soon become the Ivy League institution of South Africa. – Chris Abels, United Kingdom

•    My daughter loves Kovsies. She has really come out of her shell as a result of the wonderful environment created by Kovsie leaders. She is flourishing and has for the second year in a row achieved the distinction of being a top academic student. Once again, thank you for your kind assistance which clearly indicates to me that Kovsies treat their students like family and not merely a number. – Grant Combrink, Port Elizabeth

•    The state of the University of Free State inspired me to go back to school and do my law degree. The cleanliness and the mood of the institution was inspirational and not only to me but also to a few of my colleagues. – Joseph Peter Kgomo, a journalist with the public broadcaster

•    I arrived in Bloemfontein to begin a one year appointment as a Fulbright Scholar. I have remarked to friends and colleagues in America that we can learn a great deal about hospitality towards our foreign visitors by embodying the altruism demonstrated throughout your campus. Thank you for the opportunity to become a Kovsie. – Professor Brenda C Eppley, Professor at Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

•    I would like to congratulate you on the job well done regarding transformation and integration thereof. Indeed, the UFS that I am in is not the UOVS that I was in. – Tefo Masoetsa

•    I attended the Oprah Winfrey graduation ceremony in 2009 and when Dr Desmond Tutu received his honorary Doctorate. On both occasions one felt something big and miraculous was happening and many in the audience were moved. You are doing something down there in the Free State that really deserves attention! – Joy Summers, Producer: Carte Blanche

•    There will be much more hurt before our country is healed, but it will be the Kovsie doctors, psychiatrists and teachers applying the plasters and it will be the Kovsie architects, quantity surveyors, jurists and farmers building and regulating a new country. – Marzanne Lombard, proud former member of Soetdoring and Welwitschia Residences

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