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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

Department of Architecture creates environment for winners
2017-08-29

  Description: Arch Gimp read more Tags: : Department of Architecture, Madeli Beyers, 10th Annual Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation, Prestige Prize in Architecture

The three beneficiaries of the Carl and Emily Fuchs
Foundation’s Prestige Prize in Architecture were from
the left: Madeli Beyers (UFS), Diana Kuhn (UCT),
and Benjamin Kollenberg (Wits).
Each received a bursary of R50 000. 
Photo: Supplied


A feather in the cap for the Department of Architecture at the University of the Free State was when Madeli Beyers (BArchHons), was announced as one of three recipients of the 10th Annual Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation Prestige Prize in Architecture. 

According to Jako Olivier, Programme Director of the Department of Architecture, the top graduate students of eight national Architectural Learning Sites are adjudicated on their undergraduate portfolios, their full academic record and a 24-hour En Loge project.

This year, the En Loge project was conceptualised by the department, and investigated the forgotten voices in science, and the magical realism stories of the Free State landscape and the cosmos. The project was presented at the Boyden Observatory and science education centre. 

The adjudicating panel was assembled from a list of 23 practitioners and academics proposed by the SA Institute of Architects. 

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