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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

UFS holds memorial service for Prof Benito Khotseng
2015-01-09

Prof Benito Khotseng

The management of the University of the Free State is saddened by the passing away of Prof Benito Khotseng, former Vice-Rector: Student Affairs at the UFS.

Prof Khotseng died from a heart disease on Sunday 4 January 2015 at the age of 67.
He joined the University of the Free State as a senior manager more than two decades ago.

According to family and colleagues, his death has left a void in the education fraternity.

Prof Kalie Strydom, who has been a colleague of Prof Khotseng for more than 20 years, described him as a principled leader who did not promote and argue educational issues in his own interest.

“His focus was never on benefitting opportunistically in the short term, whether professionally or financially. I had the privilege of participating with Benito in many meetings and fundraising efforts where the correct values/principles and the organisations/institutions for which he worked benefitted, but other than so often happens in life, Benito did not benefit personally. We celebrate him forever, though with tears in our eyes.”

A memorial service for Prof Khotseng will be held at the UFS’s Bloemfontein Campus:

Monday 12 January 2015
10:00
Albert Wessels Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus, UFS

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