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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

Graduates should use knowledge to ‘re-dream society’
2016-09-19

Description: Spring Graduation 2017 Tags: Spring Graduation 2017

Dr Molapo Qhobela, CEO of the National Research
Foundation was the guest speaker at the
2016 Spring Graduation ceremonies on the
UFS Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux

“The knowledge you receive, the skills and tools you have acquired, whether they are tools of time management, tenacity or brilliance, are what we as this emerging new society need to re-dream for the type of society we would like see in this country.”

These were the inspiring words of guest speaker Dr Molapo Qhobela to graduates of the University of the Free State (UFS) at the Spring Graduation ceremonies on 15 September 2016 in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus. Dr Qhobela is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation.

A total of 442 degrees, diplomas and certificates were conferred on graduates from six UFS faculties, namely the Faculties of Law, Humanities, Education, Health Sciences, Economic and Management Sciences and Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Joyous atmosphere befitting a spring ceremony

The spirit at the spring ceremonies was truly inspiring, joyous and heart-warming. The jubilation from the audience as the procession entered the hall demonstrated the exhilaration of graduates and their families. The sense of accomplishment and pride reverberated as the graduates walked across the stage.

Graduates’ hard work and dedication applauded

 “You endured what you had to
endure and you enjoyed what
had to be enjoyed.”

“You have worked incredibly hard and the privilege to walk across the red carpet only goes to those who were prepared to do the work,” Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS said.

He applauded graduates for the many hours and sacrifices they had to endure, saying: “You endured what you had to endure and you enjoyed what had to be enjoyed.” Dr Mokhele also mentioned the amazing Gold medal win at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro of UFS star athlete, Wayde van Niekerk.

Distinctions awarded by the UFS.

 

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