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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

President’s advisor commends UFS job creation project
2007-11-07

One of President Thabo Mbeki’s international business advisors, Dr Percy Barnevik, has commended the Mangaung University of the Free State Community Partnership Programme (MUCPP) in Bloemfontein as an example of community-based job-creation efforts.

“I am encouraged with what is going on, but you have to step up the speed dramatically. We don’t want to see 5000 jobs per month, we want to see 25000”, Dr Barnevik emphasized.

The Swedish-born business executive is a member of President Mbeki’s International Investment Council which met this weekend in George. Dr Barnevik is also involved with the Indian charity organisation Hand in Hand in their programmes to eliminate rural poverty.

The University of the Free State (UFS) 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).

As part of government’s job creation efforts, the UFS was appointed as a training provider for small enterprises and community based organisations.

According to the Programme Co-ordinator at the UFS, Dr Aldo Stroebel, the University of the Free State is therefore using the partnership model of MUCPP as a vehicle for training and development as well as a model that can potentially be rolled out nationally to other provinces as part of the programme to create small enterprises and jobs in the second economy.

As a result of the UFS’s involvement, 150 people were trained last year in identifying and mentoring existing self-help groups, small enterprises and community based organisations, to strengthen their ability to establish and grow small enterprises in an effort to create jobs in the Second Economy.

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  
12 November 2007
 

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