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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. 


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KovsieScholar to accelerate pace of scholarship and research
2015-09-02

   

The University of the Free State signed the Berlin Declaration in 2011. Signatories of this declaration support knowledge dissemination within the open access paradigm. It calls for research output to be made available widely on the Internet, with permissions necessary for users to use and re-use research results in a way that accelerates the pace of scholarship and research.

On 24 August 2015, during Research Week, the Sasol Library launched KovsieScholar, the UFS’s new research repository that collects, preserves, and distributes open access digital material. KovsieScholar is an important tool for preserving our university’s legacy, facilitating digital preservation, and scholarly communication. KovsieScholar will increase the university’s global visibility as well as the impact and profiles of its researchers, and contribute to the preservation and sharing of knowledge.

The UFS has committed itself to supporting the principles of open access by encouraging its researchers to publish in open access journals, and by depositing peer-reviewed research papers in open access repositories.

For more information, contact the open access team at the Library: openaccess@ufs.ac.za

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