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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

Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies
2010-09-17

The University of the Free State (UFS) has conferred 566 grade, 41 doctoral degrees and 274 diplomas at the spring graduation and diploma ceremonies. 

The two honorary doctoral degrees were conferred on Prof. Kalie Strydom and Dr Monty Jones. The event took place in die Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus. 

The UFS Management and personnel congratulates all our graduates on this achievement!

New UFS Chancellor confers his first degrees

The new Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Dr Khotso Mokhele, conferred the first degrees since he has taken up the position as Chancellor. The UFS awarded 266 degrees and 20 doctorates to students from the Faculties of the Humanities, Health Sciences, Education, Law and Theology during its Spring graduation ceremony on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein today. Pictured at the ceremony, from the left, are: Dr Mokhele and Prof. Jonathan Jansen (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS).
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
UFS awards doctoral degree to 93-year-old graduate

This week Dr Anna de Jager received her doctoral degree in Religious Studies: Biblical and Religious Studies, during the Spring graduation ceremony of the University of the Free State (UFS) that took place in the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein. Dr De Jager was the star of the day because she was the oldest person (93) who received her qualification during this graduation ceremony. The theme of her thesis is: Die belewing van geloofsekerheid by die Gereformeerde Afrikaanssprekende adolessente leerder.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

 
UFS honours an acclaimed educational researcher

The University of the Free State (UFS) conferred an Honorary Doctorate to Prof. Andries Hermanus (Kalie) Strydom during the Spring graduation ceremony held at the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus today. Prof. Strydom is an alumnus and former academic of the UFS. His academic career can best be described as a lifetime of dedication to accountable research aimed at the advancement of higher education in South Africa. He is an acclaimed researcher in the field of higher education – nationally and internationally. His work over the last 30 years has not only been about supporting transformation in the education sector and specifically higher education, but also about capacity building of staff and supporting equity expectations without compromising quality.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
UFS confers another honorary doctorate

The University of the Free State (UFS) conferred another Honorary Doctorate today, this time on Dr Monty Jones (pictured), a Sierra Leonean who spent the last 32 years of his career in Africa working in international agricultural research for development institutions. Dr Jones is the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and co-winner of the prestigious 2004 World Food Prize. The UFS also awarded 300 degrees and 21 doctorates to students from the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences and Natural and Agricultural Sciences; and 274 diplomas were conferred on students from all the faculties during the Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies on the Main Campus.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
UFS reaches another milestone in Sign Language

The University of the Free State (UFS) has become the first university in South Africa to award a Ph.D. in South African Sign Language. This honour was bestowed upon Dr Philemon Akach (pictured), Head of the Department of South African Sign Language at the UFS, during the Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies on the Main Campus. The UFS is also the first university in the country to have a fully-fledged and dedicated Department of South African Sign Language and it was the first university on the continent to offer Sign Language as an academic course in 1999.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
Proud day for UFS parent as daughter obtains first degree

On Thursday, 16 September 2010, Ms Rebecca Mohatlane from the University of the Free State (UFS) Student Academic Services had a day every mother dreams about when her daughter obtained her first degree. Puleng Mohatlane obtained a Baccalaureus Administrationis degree from the UFS’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences during this year’s September graduation ceremony. Puleng is currently continuing her studies at the UFS, working towards obtaining an honours degree.
Photo: Christiaan van der Merwe

 
Second generation student at Chemistry obtains doctorate degree

The Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State (UFS) bore witness to a special event on Thursday, 16 September 2010 when another Conradie of the department received her doctoral degree. Marianne Conradie, daughter of Prof. Jeanet Conradie of the department, obtained her doctoral degree during the UFS’s 2010 Spring graduation ceremony. Adding to the already tight family connections, Prof. Conradie also acted as the promoter for Marianne’s thesis titled Rhodium and Iron complexes and transition states: A computational spectroscopic and electrochemical study.
Photo: Susan Conradie

 
Eastern Cape MEC obtains diploma at UFS

A member of the Eastern Cape’s Executive Committee (MEC), Mr Sicelo Gqobana, was one of the 800 graduates obtaining degrees or diplomas during the September 2010 graduation ceremonies at the University of the Free State (UFS). Currently serving as the Eastern Cape MEC for Local Government and Traditional affairs in the province, where he has been involved in politics since the 1990s. Mr Gqobana is also a former Chief Whip in the Provincial Legislature. Mr Gqobana, originally a teacher, obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Governance and Political Transformation from the UFS on Thursday, 16 September 2010.
Photo: Christiaan van der Merwe.

 

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