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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

Diligence to be rewarded at the 2015 Spring Graduation
2015-09-15

The hard work of many students finally comes to fruition with this year’s spring graduation ceremonies taking place on Thursday 17 September 2015 on the Bloemfontein Campus.

A total of 124 diplomas, 419 bachelors and 56 honours degrees will be conferred on graduates from all seven faculties of the University of the Free State (UFS). In addition to the 599 conferrals, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the world-renown American economist, will round out the number to 600 as the recipient of an honorary doctorate.  

The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences wishes to express appreciation for his extensive contribution towards economic, social, and political development across borders with an honorary doctorate in Economics.

Prof Sachs has had a positive impact on global peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights promotion, and governance through various platforms, including being a Special Advisor to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). He also served as the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocate and Commissioner of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Broadband Commission for Development.

In addition, Prof Sachs serves as the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. As an author, he has featured three times on the New York Times bestsellers list, and is the co-founder of the Millennium Promise Alliance, and drives the Millennium Villages Project as its Director.

Graduates should expect words of salutation and encouragement from our main speaker, the Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the university, Prof Jonathan Jansen.

Two ceremonies will take place in the Callie Human Centre at 09:00 and 14:00 respectively. Attendees of the afternoon ceremony will witness the conferment of Prof Sach’s degree. There is a live stream option available on the university’s website to individuals who are unable to attend the ceremonies.


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