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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

Process to appoint rector and vice-chancellor underway
2009-01-20

The process to appoint a rector and vice-chancellor for the University of the Free State (UFS) is underway and the selection committee has compiled a short list of five candidates to interview.

The committee, comprising of vice-rectors, deans and other members of senior management as well as representatives of the UFS Council, Senate, Institutional Forum, Student Representative Council and trade unions compiled the interview list out of the 26 candidates that applied.

“The applications, which closed on 2 December 2008, were received by an independent company specialising in the recruitment of executive and senior academic positions. The post was advertised locally as well as internationally,” says Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Acting Rector of the UFS.

According to Prof. Verschoor interviews will be conducted early February with the five candidates. These candidates are broadly representative in terms of race and gender. “If everything goes according to plan, three candidates will be invited after the interviews to introduce themselves to the university community at a public session to explain their vision and view of their role as rector and vice-chancellor of the UFS. These appearances should take place by the middle of February,” says Prof. Verschoor.

“We intend to submit the appointment of the successful candidate for approval at the meeting of the UFS Council in March,” says Prof. Verschoor.
Media Release:
Issued by:  Lacea Loader 
Assistant Director: Media Liaison 
Tel: 051 401 2584 
Cell: 083 645 2454 
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
20 January 2009

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