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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

Villa Bravado orientation practice
2010-08-02

The University of the Free State (UFS) takes note of forbidden initiation practices which Residence Committee Members (RCM) of Villa Bravado, a men’s residence of the UFS, participated in during September and October 2009. A video of the events is currently widely being distributed.

Earlier this year, the UFS management was informed about the events by students who had also been involved in the initiation practices and management took note of that with great dismay.

These events took place despite the comprehensive amount of support and assistance regarding transformation which is continuously provided to students in residences. The UFS clearly and regularly communicates to students that initiation is strictly forbidden.

After the management had been informed of the matter, it was immediately addressed and the following measures were taken by the Dean: Student Affairs, Mr Rudi Buys without delay:

  1. The Student Head of the residence was immediately suspended as RCM member; and
  2. Disciplinary proceedings were immediately instituted against the Residence Head because of his alleged involvement in these forbidden practices. The case is currently under investigation.

The UFS is convinced that the event was not an incident where black students acted against white students, because black members of the Residence Committee had undergone the same initiation exercise earlier. The misconduct was a continuation of a forbidden initiation practice that is not allowed at the UFS.

“I expect that these events, which took place last year, were the last of students exercising forbidden initiation practices and once again I strongly wish to express the loathing that my management and myself have for any form of forbidden initiation practice,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za 
2 August 2010

 

 

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