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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. 


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UFS Qwaqwa campus sets deadline for applications
2004-11-11

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Qwaqwa campus is preparing for the first round of applications for admittance to study in 2005. The closing date for applications is 30 November 2004.

“This applies to first-year students, senior students who have interrupted their studies for at least one year and undergraduate students from other educational institutions,” said Mr Vernon Collett, Registrar: Academic Student Services at the UFS.

According to Mr Collett, all applications that are received after 30 November 2004 and up to no later than 1 February 2005, will be regarded as pending.

“Since student numbers are now limited by government policy and depending on availability in educational programmes, these applications will be subject to consideration by the relevant dean,” said Mr Collett.

Prospective students who want to apply must pay a non-refundable fee of R100 into a designated account, which will be provided when the application form is sent to them. The signed application form must be accompanied by a certified copy of the prospective student’s identity document or passport and a proof of payment of the application fee. The application form of a minor must be signed by his/her parent or guardian and the field of study should be clearly indicated.

“A total of 2088 students are registered at the UFS’ Qwaqwa campus this year. We expect a considerable amount of applications and foresee that our numbers for next year will be similar to what it is now,” said Mr Collett.

First-time entering first-year students will be welcomed by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie, on 15 January 2005 at 11:00 in the Nelson Mandela Hall on campus.

Prospective students who want to apply or who have any enquiries can call (058) 718-5000 or visit the UFS’ Qwaqwa campus web site at www.uovs.ac.za.

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

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