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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

Future Leader’s Award 2017 goes to UFS Quantity Surveying student
2017-08-11

Description: Future Leader’s Award 2017 goes to UFS Quantity Surveying student Tags: Future Leader’s Award 2017 goes to UFS Quantity Surveying student 

Celebrating big achievements in the construction
sector at the recent Association of South African
Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) conference are, from
the left: Cameron Ferreira, junior lecturer in the
UFS Department of Quantity Surveying,
Jhon Thatcher, former UFS student in the same
department who was the second runner-up for the
Gold Medal Award, Dr Stephan Ramabodu, President
of ASAQS, Gerné Bothma, former student in the
department and winner of the Future Leaders’
Award 2017, and Pierre Oosthuizen, UFS lecturer in
the same department.
Photos: Supplied


The Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management at the University of the Free State (UFS) made good on its promise to develop independent and critical-thinking graduates who will become leaders in their field. At the recent Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) conference and gala dinner, two students from the department, Gerné Botma and Jhon Thatcher, received awards for their outstanding performance.

Best of the best
Botma received the ASAQS Future Leaders’ Award (2017), an award based on academic achievement in the first three years of study. He competed with nominees from universities across South Africa offering Quantity Surveying programmes, and was the winner in this category.

Thatcher was a second runner-up for the ASAQS Gold Medal Award (being in the top three Quantity Surveying students in South Africa). This is awarded on a number of criteria, including academic achievement. Fourth-year students from all the universities in South Africa offering Quantity Surveying programmes compete for this award, and must display achievement in categories such as academia, leadership, community engagement, and general interests.  In 2016, the Gold Medal Award was won by the UFS student, Kamogelo Leeuw.

Keeping abreast of developments
Today, organisations are relying on its members to stay ahead of issues, technologies, innovations and trends. In Quantity Surveying, to keep abreast of developments in the built environment, ASAQS was established as a voluntary association, with one of its goals being advancing and promoting the science and practice of Quantity Surveying.  ASAQS works in close collaboration with its member firms, tertiary institutions, and the South African Council for Quantity Surveying Professions (SACQSP), a statutory body that oversees and regulates the profession, and accredit Quantity Surveying programmes in South Africa.

Two staff members from the UFS Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management, Cameron Ferreira and Pierre Oosthuizen, attended the recent ASAQS annual conference. Ferreira, a junior lecturer in the department, is the current Chapter Chairperson of the Free State for ASAQS and Oosthuizen, a lecturer in the department, is the former Chapter Chairperson.

According to Ferreira, they attended the conference to keep abreast of the latest development within the industry. “The event also served as a great networking opportunity for the UFS to build partnerships with other industry pioneers,” she said. Making use of opportunities such as these is in line with the UFS’s pursuit of lifelong learning.

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