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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 receives an award from the World Universities Forum
2011-01-11

The University of the Free State (UFS) has received the World Universities Forum (WUF) Award for Best Practice in Higher Education during 2010.

The Best Practice Award recognises the most significant practices of the year around the world. The UFS’s implementation of a number of interlocking innovations to transform the institution is recognised with the award.
 
These innovations include:
  • campus-wide racial integration among students;
  • the reinvigoration of the academic culture;
  • the nurturing of the most promising young scholars by means of the Vice-Chancellor's Prestige Young Scholars Programme;
  • sending 71 first-year students to top American universities to assist with their development into non-racial campus leaders;
  • the revision of the undergraduate curriculum to promote a cross-disciplinary approach to key societal problems;
  • raising the entry requirements;
  • the facilitation of open access to campus leadership through sessions with the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof. Jonathan  Jansen – providing opportunities for public discussion between senior leadership, staff and students;
  • the UFS also extended this spirit of dialogue internationally through the inauguration of its International Advisory Council consisting of key thinkers and practitioners;
  • the identification of 20 of the most dysfunctional high schools in the Free State Province and the building of relationships with those schools. This university-school partnership is based on a strict contract of reciprocal commitments to increase the chances of black children attending university. The WUF applauded this as the most innovative step.
 
“We at the UFS are humbled, but encouraged by the recognition of academic excellence and institutional transformation that comes with this prestigious international award,” said Prof. Jansen.
 
The WUF said in a statement that these innovations demonstrate the profound impact higher education practices can have when they are well conceived and implemented.  “We applaud these innovations and the ways in which they promote racial harmony, student success and overall academic vitality,” the statement reads.
 
The Best Practice Award will be announced formally at this year’s World Universities Forum, which will be held at the Hong Kong Institute of Education from 14-16 January 2011. 
 
 A message of appreciation from Prof. Jansen will be read by Prof. Fazal Rizvi, Programme Convenor of the WUF 2011 during the award ceremony.


Media Release
10 January 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

 

 

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