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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 unveils Women’s Memorial Garden
2011-08-12

 

The Women’s Memorial Garden, between the Main and Chemistry building, seen from the top.
Photo: Siegwalt Küsel

Our university rewarded the hard work of women at the university by unveiling a Women’s Memorial Garden at our Bloemfontein Campus on National Women’s Day, 9 August 2011. University Staff, students, some members of our Council and other guests gathered at the university for the unveiling of the new memorial garden.

Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic, told the somewhat 50 people at the unveiling that it was a historic day for the UFS, as this was a sign of how far the university have come. Prof. Hay told the women at the function to be proud of their achievements. She said the purpose of Women’s Day was to celebrate the historic struggle and sacrifices of all South African women, especially those who fought against racism and sexism.

The Women’s Memorial Garden consists of a botanical garden with more than 80 plant species. In the middle of the garden is a stone statue with a wild fig tree planted within. Prof. Hay told the guests that the tree’s numerous seeds represent unity and is an indication of real understanding, knowledge and faith, characteristics women at our university should pursue to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the UFS. The University leadership will now embark on a process to identify and recognise women from the university community who have made significant contributions during its 107 years of existence.

The memorial garden was designed by Habitat Landscape Architects. Mr Siegwalt Küsel, an architect at the firm, said the garden was developed to be a living monument to women. He said they hope that the garden will become an active learning space for visitors.

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