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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 centenary reaches a peak
2004-10-04

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) centenary celebrations will reach a peak next week when various functions will be presented on campus.

On Tuesday 12 October 2004 the Centenary Complex, the new prestige entertainment venue of the UFS, will be officially opened. The complex is situated on the terrain of the old Reitz dining hall and will be utilised as reception and socialising area for UFS management, staff and alumni. The DF Malherbe House forms part of this complex.

The festivities will continue the next day ( Wednesday 13 October 2004) with the premiere of a documentary programme – commissioned by the UFS as part of its centenary celebrations - about the life and legacy of King Moshoeshoe, the Basotho leader of the nineteenth century. The documentary will focus on his role in reconciliation, nation-building and bringing about peace in this region. The producer of this insightful work is the well-known journalist Mr Max du Preez. The documentary will be screened on SABC 2 later this year.

On Thursday 14 October 2004 a special honorary doctorate graduation ceremony will take place in front of the UFS’s main building. During this event 12 honorary doctorates will be awarded to a diverse group of outstanding South Africans and international experts.

The honorary doctorates will be awarded to: Me Antjie Krog, Prof Jakes Gerwel, Mr Karel Schoeman, Dr Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, Prof Saleem Badat, Dr Khotso Mokhele, Prof Robert Bringle, Prof Leo Quayle, Prof Jack de Wet, Prof Kerneels Nel (postuum), Prof Boelie Wessels and Prof Jaap Steyn.

This group of honorary doctorates is the last in a total of 18 which will be honored during the UFS centenary year.

The next day, Friday 15 October 2004 , more than 100 centenary medals will be awarded to current staff, former staff and alumni.

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

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