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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

Intervarsity postponed to 2013
2012-03-08

The annual Intervarsity between the Universities of the Free State and North-West (NWU), which traditionally takes place in the third term, has been postponed to 2013.

The Intervarsity between the UFS and NWU is an illustrious event that has already reached the special milestone of celebrating a 70-year Intervarsity tradition. The UFS/NWU Intervarsity is also known as one of the most reckoned events on the local and national sports and student calendars, and it is widely supported.
 
Representatives from both universities could for a variety of reasons not decide on a date which suited both universities.
 
The respective Intervarsity committees and senior managers of both universities have also taken the interests of the respective university communities and alumni of the institutions into account and have decided to postpone the 70th-year celebration of Intervarsity by a year in order to be able to celebrate the milestone properly.
 
The UFS would have received the NWU in Bloemfontein this year and will therefore host the 70-year celebrations of the event next year as well.
 
Mr Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs at the UFS has expressed his gratitude for the fact that both universities are committed to a special celebration of the Intervarsity tradition in 2013.
 
“The celebration of the 70th Intervarsity between the two institutions will be an important milestone to commemorate decades of friendship, collaboration and healthy competition. Therefore we welcome this opportunity to plan a bigger and better programme for 2013,” he said.
 
The UFS-NWU 70-YEAR Intervarsity firstly aims to establish the programme as a proud example for both universities, where students and staff can pit their strengths against one another in a healthy manner.
 
The aim is to extend Intervarsity to various sections of the respective university communities to enable more students to participate. For instance, more sports codes will be added to the traditional competition on the rugby, soccer, netball and hockey fields, whilst various events focusing on arts and culture, i.e. choral singing and debating competitions, as well as dialogue between student leaders, will take place as part of the programme. All campuses of the two universities will participate in the programmes.
 
Students are even investigating the possibility of electronic competitions such as on-line games as part of the Intervarsity
 
During the Intervarsity last year, several new possibilities were already tested to ensure that the 70th anniversary would be a huge success.
 
The Central Intervarsity Committee of the UFS has decided to replace the Intervarsity 2012 programme with an INTRA-varsity programme between its respective campuses. For this occasion, various sports, arts and culture, and leadership events between the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses are planned, and the Central University of Technology might be invited as well to participate as guests in some programmes.

Media Release
8 March 2012
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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