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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

Record number of students to graduate at UFS
2017-06-19

Description: Day 2 Mid-year Graduation Bloemfontein Campus Tags: Day 2 Mid-year Graduation Bloemfontein Campus

Eleven graduation ceremonies will form part of the
mid-year graduation ceremonies at the
University of the Free State.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Livestream of Graduation Ceremonies

Six days, eleven ceremonies, and more than 5 000 degrees. This all forms part of what is the biggest set of graduation ceremonies in the history of the University of the Free State (UFS).

The mid-year graduation ceremonies, taking place from 19 to 26 June 2017 in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus, will see the most students graduate during a week. A total of 5 258 degrees, which includes 460 master’s and doctoral degrees, will be conferred – including 72 doctoral degrees.

First graduation ceremonies for Prof Petersen
It will also be the first ceremonies that Prof Francis Petersen, new Rector and Vice-Chancellor, attends on the Bloemfontein Campus. Students from all seven faculties, as well as the South Campus, will graduate.

Graduates per faculty are (without master’s and doctoral degrees): Faculty of Education (488), Faculty of Health Sciences (345), Faculty of Theology (29), Faculty of Law (686), Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (1 029), Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (1 044), Faculty of the Humanities (826), and the South Campus (354).

Guest speakers include three judges
Guest speakers for the ceremonies include Dipiloane Phutsisi, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of the Motheo TVET College in the Free State, Dr Susan Vosloo, UFS Council member and founder member of the World Society for Paediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery, and Prof Petersen.

Three judges will also act as speakers. They are Justice Ian van der Merwe, Judge of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal and former Chair of the UFS Council, Justice Mahube Molemela, Judge President of the Free State Division of the High Court and Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of South Africa, and Justice Connie Mocumie, Judge of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Graduations ceremonies:

19 June 2017:
09:00: Faculty of Education, except educational qualifications in Open Distance Learning –  South Campus
14:30: Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Theology and Faculty of Law (including the School of Financial Planning Law)

20 June 2017:
09:00: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: All Bachelor’s degrees
14:30: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: All Diplomas and Bachelor Honours degrees

21 June 2017:
09:00: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: All Certificates, Diplomas, Bachelor’s degrees and Bachelor Honours degrees, excluding BCom degrees
14:30: Faculty of the Humanities: Social Sciences and Communication Sciences only

22 June 2017:
09:00: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: BCom degrees only
14:30: Faculty of the Humanities: All qualifications except Social Sciences and Communication Sciences

23 June 2017:
14:30: Educational qualifications in Open Distance Learning – South Campus

26 June 2017:
09:00: All faculties except the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: Master’s and Doctoral degrees
14:30: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: Master’s and Doctoral degrees


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