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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 staff and students clean campus together
2011-09-02

 

Kovsies are not black or white, we are green, says Prof. Jonathan Jansen, our Vice-Chancellor and Rector. Here are some of the students and staff who helped to pick up garbage on our Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

A group consisting of students, staff and members of the management team of the University of the Free State (UFS) proved that they are not only talking about sustainability and the importance of keeping the campus clean, but they actually put their words to action by taking up a garbage bag and helping to pick up garbage.

According to Ms Martie Bitzer, Head of the Sustainability Committee of the UFS, the UFS followed the lead of higher education throughout the world by joining the movement for sustainability and took the plunge in addressing sustainability issues with both short- and long-term planning. One of the short-term plans is to make staff and students aware of the importance of a “green” lifestyle. This week’s activities, including the picking up of garbage and planting a tree on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS, is the result thereof.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, who also helped to pick up garbage, told the group of staff and students that many universities around the world are implementing sustainability initiatives and are keeping their campuses clean, because they care for the environment. He thanked the group for their contribution to this process.

“By cleaning up around us, we show respect towards ourselves and towards our campus,” said Prof. Jansen.

To encourage students to keep the campus clean, Student Affairs at the UFS will launch a competition to see which residence can pick up the most garbage on 8 September 2011. A Clean Thakaneng Bridge Campaign will also be launched later on.
 

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