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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 hosts the biggest HIV/AIDS event in its history
2007-10-05

The Chief Directorate: Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with the Free State Department of Education, will host the biggest HIV/AIDS focus event in the history of the university.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein and the theme will be: Management of HIV/AIDS in the Workplace.

According to the Chief Director of Community Service at the UFS, the Rev Kiepie Jaftha, this event forms part of a wider role of his directorate to raise the level of awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS within the university and the higher education sector in South Africa. It will also enhance the executive management’s buy-in and ownership of this role and incorporate the flow of HIV/AIDS information and activities into the core business of the UFS.

The focus will be on getting the executive management, middle management, aspiring managers and those who are affected by the decisions of the management, on board in the university’s endeavour to manage and create HIV/AIDS awareness in the workplace.

Most importantly, community members will also form an essential part of this event as the UFS strives to get them also involved in HIV/AIDS education and awareness.

“We hope to release the valve of denialism and stir the excitement amongst people, to encourage them to get involved in creating awareness within their workplaces, institutions and society,” said the Rev Jaftha.


To that effect, the Director of the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management at the University of Stellenbosch, Prof. Jan du Toit, will deliver a keynote address. There will also be a mini-musical production called Lucky, the Hero, directed by the well-known stage performer and director of Educational Theatre and creative arts for the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management, Prof. Jimmie Earl Perry.

The 25 tables for the event have been sold at a cost of R1 500 each and the beneficiaries thereof will be a local non-governmental organization (NGO), namely the Lebone Land Care Centre. The UFS has a long-standing relationship with the Lebone Land Care Centre, where students are sent as part of the implementation of their community service learning modules to enhance their practical skills. Now the university intends to formalise this partnership.

“I admire the holistic manner of approach the Lebone Land Care Centre uses towards caring for people who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and the way they make people realise that they can still live a meaningful life and add dignity and value to society,” enthused Rev Jaftha.

The NGO will also receive an award from Spar, one of the biggest supermarket groups in South Africa.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za
04 October 2007
 

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