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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

Minister to visit University of the Free State’s job creation project
2007-11-12

A high level delegation led by the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Ms Lulu Xingwana, will visit the Mangaung / University of the Free State Community Partnership Programme (MUCPP) in Bloemfontein on Monday, 12 November 2007, to learn more of the progress and implementation of job creation efforts in the Free State and the country.

The University of the Free State is involved in the National Programme for the Creation of Small Enterprises and Jobs for the Second Economy as part of the government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA).

The UFS was appointed as a training coordinator for small enterprises and community based organisations using the MUCPP partnership model, informed by the successful Self-help Group model from the Indian NGO, Hand-in-Hand. It is hoped that this partnership model of the UFS can potentially serve as an example to other provinces as part of the programme to create small enterprises and jobs in the second economy.

The delegation that will visit the MUCPP site in Rocklands includes Minister Xingwana, Chairperson of the President’s International Investment Council (IIC), Dr Percy Barnevick, and the national leader of the Jobs for Growth Programme, Ms Tina Radebe.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za  
9 November 2007
 

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