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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

Architecture gets unconditional validation
2012-10-15

 Three programmes of the Department of Architecture at the university received an extended unconditional validation from the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) and the Commonwealth Association of Architecture (CAA).

The programmes are evaluated every four years and the previous evaluation in 2008 was also unconditional. The programmes that were validated are BAS, BAS (Hons.) and M.Arch. (Prof).

Mr Jonathan Manning, chairperson of the board of eight people that visited the department, says the department’s standards have improved more since the previous visit. He expressed his apprectiation for the departement’s unique specialist approach to alternative building methods, tours, winter schools, the annual Sophia Gray lecture, the good team of lecturers and the impressive Architecture building.

Two members of the board who visited the department are from the CAA.

Mrs Martie Bitzer, Departmental Chairperson, says the validation proves that the programmes are not only recognised nationally but also internationally. “It confirms that the students are at the right place at the right time in terms of the vision of the UFS, namely to be an internationally recognised university.”

The validation of the CAA means that the qualifications are recognised in all the Commonwealth countries.

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