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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

UFS makes internet affordable for students
2009-08-25

 
From the beginning of September the cost of internet access for students of the University of the Free State (UFS) will be lowered drastically to make this important medium for students’ study (and student life) affordable.

Prof. Janse Tolmie, Director: Computer Services, says different tariffs will apply in three different time slot, of which the lowest will be 20c per megabyte (MB). At present students pay R1 per MB right through the day. Students already get 30 MB free every month from the UFS, but postgraduate students will have 50 MB available from now on.

In peak time (05:00-17:59) students will pay 70c per MB, 50c in off-peak time (18:00-21:59) and just 20c per MB in discount time from 22:00 to 04:59. The new tariff structure will encourage students to use the internet in the evenings and reduce the pressure on the UFS network by doing so.

The provision of internet access is a high priority with the UFS. Each of the 18 residences is equipped with internet access points in every room. There are more than 3 000 network points in the residences and 1 300 in the general computer labs on campus.

Students have access to social networks like Face Book and Twitter from 17:00 daily.

Prof. Tolmie says the new structure will encourage students to use the internet in the evenings and reduce the pressure on the UFS network in such a way. 
Photo: Supplied

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