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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 awards honorary doctorates during spring graduation ceremony
2004-09-20

The University of the Free State (UFS) will award three honorary doctorates this week during its spring graduation ceremony.

The graduation ceremony will take place on Wednesday 22 September 2004 and the honorary doctorates are Dr Calvin Seerveld (D Phil (hc), Prof YK Seedat (MD (hc) and Dr Mary Seely (D Sc (hc).

“The doctorates come from a wide spectrum of specialty fields and serve as proof of the UFS’s policy to give recognition to people who stand out and make a difference,” says Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Dr Calvin Seerveld (D Phil (hc) will receive an honorary doctorate for his academic leadership at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto and the wide international recognition he has received throughout his career in various subject areas, eg philosophical aesthesia, the theory of art, the methodology of the description of the history of art and continental philosophy.

Prof YK Seedat (MD (hc) will receive an honorary doctorate for his extraordinary contribution to medicine in South Africa. His research in the field of hypertension in blacks received international recognition and significantly contributed to the understanding of the pathophysiology of this condition.

In the mid-eighties Prof Seedat was instrumental in supporting the bid from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the Orange Free State (UOFS) to host the first Colleges of Medicine of South Africa examination in Bloemfontein. This started a tradition that is still being maintained. Prof Seedat is a researcher at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The Executive Director of the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, Dr Mary Seely (D Sc (hc)), will be honored for the impact she has made on the development of environmental management in the drier parts of the southern African subcontinent. Though her research has been concentrated in Namibia, she has affected the professional lives of large numbers of ecologists, environmental scientists and environmental managers.

According to Prof Fourie the three doctorates form part of the greater group of 18 who will be honored by the UFS during its centenary year. The last group will be receiving their honorary doctorates in October 2004.

 

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

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