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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

First woman appointed to represent the religious community on UFS Council
2015-12-08

Dr Nthabeleng Rammile

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved the appointment of Dr Nthabeleng Rammile as representative of the religious community during its meeting on Friday 4 December 2015. She is the first woman to be appointed in this portfolio on Council.
 
“We are really privileged to have on Council a person of high integrity who not only has a sound knowledge of the academic world, but also brings real skills in marketing and brand management to university governance. In addition, Dr Rammile has a heart for students, including both their academic and spiritual needs,” says Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.
 
Dr Rammile, an alumnus of the UFS, was a lecturer in the university’s Department of Business Management from 2003. She ended her lecturing tenure when she decided to join the ministry full-time in December 2014. She was ordained in 2003 as a Pastor of the Global Reconciliation Church. While at the UFS, she completed her Master's in Services Marketing and a PhD in Brand Management.
 
She played a pivotal mentoring role and gave her students first-hand work experience by working closely with the private sector, as she wanted to ensure that her students leave the UFS with a real understanding of the working world.
 
At the Global Reconciliation Church, she is responsible for women’s ministry, community outreach projects, as well as multimedia services. She is passionate about inspiring and empowering women to become successful in all spheres of their lives, namely career, business, motherhood, academia and socially. Dr Rammile is an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, and she also conducts workshops that teach women in her ministry how to live healthy and well-balanced lifestyles.

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