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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

New residences officially open
2013-03-06

 
Celebrating the official opening of the two new residences, were Vusumzi Mesatywa, Prime of House Outeniqua and Sherilyn Roelofse, Prime of House ConLaurês.
Photo: Johan Roux
06 March 2013

 

  Video clip (YouTube)

The one implies dreams of victory; the name of the other means ‘bringers of honey’ in the Khoisan language.

With these unique names, two new residences, House ConLaurês and House Outeniqua, will create new memories for generations of Kovsie students. The two residences were officially opened on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State, bringing the number of junior residences on the campus to 19.

Celebrating the new addition to residence life, Mr Quintin Koetaan, Director: Housing and Residence Affairs, told residents of House ConLaurês and House Outeniqua that they were part of history. He told guests that the residences will provide accommodation for a new generation of students and encouraged residents to breathe life into their respective abodes.

“Nobody thought that two residences could be built in a year,” he said about the short time between the planning and opening of the residences in January this year. The two residences welcomed 250 students each, with male and female students living under one roof, but in separate units.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, praised Koetaan and his team, as well as the developers, saying they have done something completely different on the campus. He said the two residences will create a place which students can call home. “It will create a place not just to eat and sleep, but also to learn. It will create memories for many years to come.”

Mr Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs, said House ConLaurês and House Outeniqua is much more than simply residences. “It’s about the university putting its heart out there, showing what can be done.” He told guests that representatives from other universities and the Department of Higher Education and Training have visited the UFS to see what is being done here.

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