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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 main campus and Vista campus students’ simultaneous graduation a first
2004-12-01

Altogether 284 students from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) main campus and the Vista campus will for the first time graduate during the same ceremony on Thursday 2 December 2004, following the incorporation of the Vista campus into the UFS in January this year.

The ceremony will mainly comprise of the graduation of students from the UFS’s Faculty of Health Sciences. Students from the Vista campus who will be graduating include those from the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences, Humanities, Law and School of Education. One doctorate will be awarded to a student from Vista campus’ School of Education.

During the ceremony, the first group of students who completed the five-year programme for the MB ChB-course will be receiving their degrees. The last group of students who completed the six-year programme of the same course will also be receiving their degrees. The six-year programme of the MB ChB-course will be fully converted into a five-year programme as from next year.

Prof Stewart Petersen, from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, will receive a shield of honour from the UFS’s School of Medicine for his outstanding contribution to, and input in the medical curriculum 2000 that is used for the training of medical students in this school. Prof Petersen’s advice, ideas and recommendations have helped the School of Medicine to put together a medical programme that is currently considered one of the most innovative teaching and training programmes for medical students in South Africa. He is also involved in the Health Professions Education Programme where he acts as co-supervisor for Ph D students at the School of Medicine.

The ceremony will take place at 14:30 in the Callie Human Centre on the UFS main campus.

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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