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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

International delegates rethink justice and righteousness at Theology conference
2015-09-07


Participants in the multidisciplinary conference hosted by the UFS Faculty of Theology, celebrated the 35th anniversary of the faculty with a festive dinner.

The Faculty of Theology at the University of the Free State (UFS) held a multidisciplinary conference from 24 to 26 August 2015, with the theme of ‘Re-thinking justice and righteousness in society’. A total of 26 papers were presented at the congress, with contributions from Theology, Economic and Management Sciences, the Humanities, and Law. Delegates from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Belgium attended the conference, in addition to academics from the UFS.



Some of the keynote speakers at the international conference hosted by the UFS Faculty of Theology, ‘Re-thinking justice and righteousness in society’: Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the UFS Faculty of Theology, Rev Peter Awojobi, Rev Menard Musendekwa and Prof Ango Samuel.

“With this conference,” said Prof Fanie Snyman, Dean of the UFS Faculty of Theology, “we are positioning the faculty alongside other faculties whose insights and disciplines are important to Theology. A multidisciplinary forum also provides great possibilities for

cooperation across disciplines.”

The conference coincided with a visit to the UFS by students in the theological faculties at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Pretoria. These students attended some of the presentations, in addition to the other activities they were involved in.

The Faculty of Theology is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, making it not only the youngest faculty at the UFS, but also the youngest theology faculty in South Africa. In this time, the faculty has established itself as a significant role player within the theological landscape, with important agreements having been reached with theological institutions in Europe, the USA, and Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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