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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 now offers free bus service
2012-03-22

Prospective Kovsie students from Namibia and parts of the Southern Cape will be able to make use of a free bus service to and from the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

New first-year students from these areas will be able to travel to the Bloemfontein Campus at no cost. The bus service to and from the UFS will also be available during the April and June holidays.

The bus to Namibia will stop at Kimberley, Upington, Keetmanshoop, Mariental and Windhoek. Parts of the Southern Cape that form part of the service include Colesberg, Beaufort-Wes, Oudtshoorn, Mosselbaai, George and Knysna.

Mr Gerhard van Rhyn, Deputy Director: Marketing at the UFS, says a growing need for a transport service to and from Namibia and the Southern Cape led to the introduction of the free bus service.

“Both Namibia and the Southern Cape are close to the heart of the UFS. Over the years, thousands of students from these areas came to study at our university, and left their mark. A large number of Kovsie Alumni also live in Namibia and the Southern Cape.”

Prospective Kovsies who want to use the bus service will have to apply to use the service and final transport arrangements will be communicated to them directly.

For more information contact Ms Anita Jackson at 051 401 3408 or jacksona@ufs.ac.za.
 

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