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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

Award-winning artist Mohau Modisakeng exhibits at UFS
2017-03-02

Description: Mohau Modisakeng exhibition 2 Tags: Mohau Modisakeng exhibition 2

One of the artworks from Modisakeng’s Lefa La Ntate
collection.
Photo: Supplied

Standard Bank Young Artist, Mohau Modisakeng is a multidisciplinary artist who uses memory as a portal linking the past and present to explore themes within the post-apartheid context.

The University of the Free State (UFS) is hosting the Visual Arts 2016 artist’s exhibition, entitled Lefa La Ntate. The exhibition is on at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery in the Sasol Library on the Bloemfontein Campus and will run until 31 March 2017.

Artist uses his body to explore influences
Lefa La Ntate represents an emotional moment of grieving and is a critical response to the historical legacy of exploitation and the current lived experience of many black South Africans.  

Modisakeng, who was born in Soweto in 1986, uses his body to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history on how we understand our cultural, political, and social roles as human beings. “My work responds to the history of the black body within the (South) African context, which is intertwined with the violence of the apartheid era and the early 1990s.”

Acknowledging upcoming young artists
The Young Artist Awards were established to acknowledge emerging young South African artists who have displayed outstanding talent in their artistic endeavours.

The exhibition premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2016 and has travelled to Port Elizabeth, Pietermaritzburg, and Cape Town.

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