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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

More than 500 to graduate this summer
2015-11-30

A total of 544 graduates will walk across the stage to collect their hard-earned qualifications at this year’s Summer Graduation on the Bloemfontein Campus.

A total of 106 Master’s Degrees and 39 Doctorates will be conferred by all seven faculties of the University of the Free State (UFS). About 231 pre-graduates are expected from the Faculty of Health Sciences. The School of Open Learning will proudly award 122 Diplomas and 46 Certificates.

Prof Busisiwe Rosemary Bhengu, Chairperson of the South African Nursing Council, will be the guest speaker for the day.

About the guest speaker

Prof Bhengu holds a PhD in Nursing, and is an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). From 2008, Bhengu has headed the UKZN School of Nursing.  She has supervised and co-supervised several PhD and Master’s students.

In addition to teaching Critical Care Nursing at both local and international levels, Bhengu was responsible for the development of the Nurse Specialist syllabus at the university. Her contributions to the field reach as far as the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, and Seychelles, where she pioneered course development and implementation for critical care nursing in the curriculum for Nurse Anaesthetics in Rwanda.

Other leadership positions held by Prof Bhengu include directing the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in the UKZN School of Nursing between 2008 and 2011; representing the Afro-Region at the Executive Committee of the Global Network; chairing the Professional Conduct Committee; and the Laws, Practice and Standards Committee. She has published many papers internationally.

A musical prelude

The Sonnedou residence Kleinser group will deliver a few musical items for the graduates, friends, and family.

Details of event

Date:
Thursday 10 December 2015
Time:  08:00am and 14:30pm
Place: Callie Human Centre, Bloemfontein Campus

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