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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 joined EduRoam project
2011-03-13

Photo: Gerda-Marié Viviers

The ICT Services of the UFS presented the recent conference of the Association of South African University Directors of Information Technology (ASAUDIT) on home turf. Here from the left are: Prof. Janse Tolmie, senior director of the UFS’s ICT Services, Mr Sakkie Janse van Rensburg, executive director of the University of Cape Town’s ICT services, Mr Louis Marais, deputy director of the UFS’s ICT services and Mr Christiaan Kühn of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Travelling academics should soon gain access to free internet more easily. This is after three South African universities, of which the University of the Free State (UFS) is one, joined the EduRoam project. Several academics were briefed on this concept at the last conference of ASAUDIT (Association of South African University Directors of Information Technology) which was held in the CR Swart Auditorium on the Main Campus of the UFS. EduRoam, which is available worldwide at participating universities and airports, enables users to gain access to the internet via their home universities. Prof. Janse Tolmie, senior director of the UFS’s ICT services explains that, should a colleague sign in at an “EduRoam university” the staff member’s information would be verified at the UFS’s IT systems in order to determine the legitimacy of the EduRoam user. After this internet access would be granted. The UFS, University of Cape Town and Rhodes University are the first three universities that have taken on the EduRoam project. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) also plays a central role in the project in South Africa. More information regarding the UFS’s utilisation of EduRoam will soon be announced.

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