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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

UFS to establish Sesotho language research and
2004-12-01

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) approved the establishment of a Sesotho Language Research and Development Centre.

The centre will be established on request of the national Department of Arts and Culture and will be situated at the UFS’s Vista campus.

According to the Dean: Faculty of Humanities at the UFS, Prof Gerhardt de Klerk, the national department has committed itself to make available R1-million for the project. An amount not exceeding 3,5 percent will be paid to the UFS in payment of costs incurred in terms of the housing of the centre.

“The tasks of the centre will include the promotion of indigenous languages and terminology development; the research, development and maintenance of a terminological data base and the writing and publishing of various genres of literature in co-operation with relevant and interested parties,” says Prof de Klerk.

Other tasks include the establishment and maintenance of a language museum, outreach to the community and the mobilisation of support for the use of African languages.

“The centre will be managed by a management committee consisting of a representative of the Department of Arts and Culture, the academic registrar, head of the Department of African Languages, chief financial official of the UFS, a member of the UFS Senate, a senior lecturer/professor from the School of Languages/ Faculty of the Humanities, the head of the provincial language unit and a representative of PANSAD,” says Prof de Klerk.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
1 December 2004

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