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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

Palestinian Ambassador discusses future collaboration in education and development with UFS
2017-06-08

Description: Palestinian Ambassador  Tags: Palestinian Ambassador

From the left:  Chevon Jacobs (Office of International Affairs),
Ambassador Hashem Dajani, Prof Francis Petersen,
Chargé d’Affaires Bassam Elhussiny, and
Kanego Mokgosi (Office of International Affairs).
Photo: Eugene Seegers

Palestine’s Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Hashem Dajani, paid a courtesy call to Prof Francis Petersen on 30 May 2017 at the Bloemfontein Campus. Ambassador Dajani was accompanied by Chargé d’Affaires Bassam Elhussiny to congratulate Prof Petersen on his appointment as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS).

The diplomatic visit entailed discussions of possible collaborative initiatives between the UFS and universities in Palestine in areas such as student exchanges, capacity building and development, and research.

Diplomacy in action - a tool for internationalisation
The UFS has in the past hosted the Palestinian delegation on public engagements held with the university community, including students and the Institute of Reconciliation and Social Justice, to showcase the socio-political situation in Palestine through the use of film and panel discussions. 

The UFS has built strong networks with other foreign diplomatic missions in the country which have yielded interaction between diplomats and institutes, students and academics on the Bloemfontein Campus. These collaborations are an important tool for success of the broader university’s strategy of internationalisation.

It is through the visit of Ambassador Dajani that the university and the Office of International Affairs hopes to create firm, future strategic collaborations with Palestinian universities,  academics and students.

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