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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

FS Premiers Documentary Film On Basotho King Moshoeshoe
2004-10-06

The University of the Free State (UFS) will premiere a documentary film on the legacy of King Moshoeshoe, Basotho leader of the nineteenth century for his role in nation-building and reconciliation on Wednesday 13 October 2004.

The hour-long documentary film, produced by the well-known journalist Mr Max du Preez, was commissioned by the UFS as part of its centenary celebrations.

“To us this film is a practical demonstration of the UFS’s commitment to the continued transformation of the campus, and its commitment to reconciliation and nation-building. It is seen as a contribution to one of the UFS’s key strategic priorities for this year, namely diversity, equity and redress,” says Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“Through these priorities, the UFS commits itself to developing a shared appreciation of the history of this country and to contribute to the establishment of the Free State Province as a model of reconciliation and nation building,” says Prof Fourie.

“King Moshoeshoe was a great African statesman and leader. He was born in this region of the country, but his influence and legacy extends way beyond the borders of the Free State, Lesotho and even way beyond the borders of South Africa,” says Prof Fourie.

Earlier this year the UFS launched a project to honor King Moshoeshoe. The project included among others the production of this documentary film, the possible presentation of an annual Moshoeshoe memorial lecture that will focus on African leadership, nation-building and reconciliation and PhD-level research into the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe and a literary anthology including prose and poetry.

According to Prof Fourie the project will enable the UFS to give real meaning to words such as reconciliation, respect for the diversity of our languages and cultures, and the unity South Africans seek to build as a democratic nation through such diversity.

The documentary film on King Moshoeshoe will be screened on SABC 2 later this year.

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

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