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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

SRC elections continue despite illegal protests on UFS Main Campus
2011-08-17

After today’s (17 August 2011) illegal protest by about 150 demonstrators from outside the university in front of the Main Building on our Bloemfontein Campus, Mr Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs, said the elections for a Representative Student Council still continues. “Student Council candidates will continue with their campaign and, as agreed, no external politics will be allowed in the elections.”

Student leaders have expressed their frustration with the outside groups who interfere with processes on campus.

The UFS was the target of a group of people from outside the university who protested in front of the Main Building. The group, armed with sticks and bricks, had no clear demands other than that the UFS Council should be dissolved and management fired. It appears that some of the outsiders – from places such as Welkom and Kroonstad – did not know what they came to do at the university.

No students were involved in the protest action.

During the demonstration, the police and campus security were deployed and some of the demonstrators were arrested.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector said: “The UFS is worried about the thuggish behaviour by outside groups invading the university campus. An urgent interdict has been obtained and any further invasions by outside groups will lead to arrest.”

The illegal process had no impact on the academic programme at the university. Everything continues as normal.

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

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