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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

Leadership for Change celebrates graduation ceremony
2014-10-15

The Leadership for Change Programme hosted its third annual graduation ceremony on 9 October 2014 at the Centenary Complex on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The event consisted of two segments. The first was aimed at the group who has travelled abroad during the past year. They were presented with special certificates acknowledging the work they have done during their participation in the programme.

The second element of the evening was to wish the 2014/2015 group all of the best for their upcoming travels. This group will be travelling abroad during next year. Of the 250 applicants, the top 32 students were chosen to be part of the Leadership for Change Programme.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said, “I hope you came back with the capacity to distinguish right from wrong – not only through law, but morally as a leader.”

Waldo Staude, Vice-president of the Student Representative Council (SRC), acted as Chair to the evening’s proceedings. He is also an alumnus of this programme.

“This programme has made its mark as we observe the number of leadership positions our students from the programme hold on this campus,” Staude said. “We have eight Leadership for Change students in the SRC for the 2014/15 term.”

The Leadership for Change Programme each year gives first-year students exposure to top universities throughout the world. Its focus is to establish a new campus culture of student relations across boundaries.

Six cohort groups – of between five to six students each – will visit universities on three different continents in January 2015. Each group will be accompanied by a UFS staff member serving the role of mentor.

The universities they will be visiting (according to continent), are:

 USA
Cleveland State University
University of Minnesota
University of Vermont 

Europe
The Netherlands: Vrije University in Amsterdam
Belgium: University of Antwerp and Ghent University 
 
Asia
Japan: International Christian University

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