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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

An incident-free recess for the UFS
2010-07-19

The improved security measures at the University of the Free State (UFS) have resulted in an incident-free recess on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the annual Volksblad Arts Festival.

The UFS provided accommodation for international spectators visiting the country for the World Cup and recently also hosted the hugely popular Volksblad Arts Festival without any security glitches.

These successes could be attributed to the hard work of staff members from various divisions at the UFS to ensure that the security was improved.

“The main question we had to deal with was: should our Main Campus be fenced off? This matter had been under discussion for quite some time. In order to ensure the feasibility thereof, a second impact study was done by a consulting engineer,” said Prof. Niel Viljoen, Vice-Rector: Operations at the UFS.

“This study has shown that, given the nature of activities on the campus and the access configuration, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to effectively control access to the campus, especially as far as visitors were concerned. Any type of access control measure would result in delays at the gates, which could have a major impact on the traffic flow, delays, costs and emissions.”

“It is important that our staff and students feel safe on the Main Campus, whether they are walking on campus or working in their offices. In that way we can ensure an environment that is conducive to staff and students to work and study,” he said.

Various measures are being implemented to make the campuses safer. These include, among others:

  • The installation of alarms in buildings on the Main Campus. The project for the South Campus has been completed and the installation of a new alarm system on the Qwaqwa Campus will start soon.

     
  • Staff and students will be required to wear identification cards once the new identification system has been put in place. These cards will allow access to all buildings.

     
  • Fences around the Main Campus are being repaired and the areas around these fences are being cleaned. This project should be completed by August 2010.

     
  • Lights will be installed in badly lit areas on the Main Campus. The first phase of this project includes the area between the Mooimeisiesfontein, Welwitschia and Vergeet-my-nie residences. This project will also be completed by August 2010.

     
  • The walkways on the Main Campus will be patrolled more frequently and effectively.

     
  • Contracted security workers will be utilised more effectively.

     
  • The monitoring of security cameras on the Main Campus on a 24/7 basis. “For this purpose the security room of our Protection Services is in the process of being upgraded,” said Prof. Viljoen.

The possibility of placing security cameras and panic buttons in parking areas and walkways is investigated.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
16 July 2010

 

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