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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

School of Open Learning opens at our South Campus
2011-08-23

 

Prof Daniella Coetzee, Dean of the School of Open Learning at our South Campus

The University of the Free State (UFS) established a School of Open Learning at the South Campus in Bloemfontein. The activities of the new school are driven by a central principle: opening up access to those who have not had the opportunity to study at a higher-education institution because of geographical location, socio-economic circumstances or other factors. Programmes are delivered through a blended-learning model, which blends contact teaching with distance education. A new dean, Prof. Daniella Coetzee, was appointed to guide the establishment of the school.

The school will collaborate with the different faculties, and is currently managing the continuing education-sponsored endeavours of the Faculty of Education. These include projects for in-service training of teachers in Mathematics, Natural and Physical Sciences, Languages, Literacy, Economic and Management Sciences, Technology and various areas of Management and Leadership.

Apart from the training of currently serving teachers, the school and the Faculty of Education are also involved in the professional training of FET-college lecturers, and have recently been awarded an R17m injection by the Flemish Government to develop programmes and to further deliver in this area.

Collaboration with the Faculty of Law has also led to the prospect of managing a B.Iuris. programme aimed at the police force, commencing in 2012.

The University Preparation Programme (UPP), offering particular generic and optional subjects for students to enter into the formal university programmes, will also form part of the School of Open Learning.

 

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