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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

Albert Einstein “visits” Bloemfontein
2005-08-30

 

 

Albert Einstein, performed by David Muller, and Dr Matie Hoffman, senior lecturer from the Department of Physics at the UFS and coordinator of educational activities at the UFS Boyden Observatory.  They are standing at the 1,5m Boyden telescope.


Visitors to the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Boyden Observatory had a special treat on Saturday 27 August 2005 when they were “Albert Einstein”, alias David Muller (Albert Einstein in Imagining Einstein) paid them a surprise visit.

The Department of Science and Technology is sponsoring a one-man play called Imagining Einstein.  The play, written and performed by David Muller, is produced through the MTN Science Centre and forms part of the celebration of the World Year of Physics.  The play’s visit to Bloemfontein was kicked off by Saturday evening’s performance at the UFS Boyden Observatory.

It follows the life of Einstein, from his patent office in Switzerland, through his office in Berlin to his position at Princeton where he spent the last 20 years of his life and captures the research, studies and thinking with all its depth and insights of a man who not only changed the thinking about physics but also had much fun doing so.

The play will be presented on Tuesday 30 August 2005 and Wednesday 31 August 2005 at 10:00 and 19:00 in the Albert Wessels Auditorium on the UFS campus.  Entrance is free of charge.  For bookings, please contact (051) 401 2561.

On Thursday 1 September 2005 the play will be presented at 10:00 and 19:00 at the Sterrewag Theatre on Naval Hill.  Tickets are R10 per person for the 10:00 show and R30 per person for the 19:00 show and are available from PACOFS booking offices or by calling (051) 447 7772.   

Media release
Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
29 August 2005
 

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