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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

Fresh new look for UFS Sasol Library
2013-03-15

 

The revamped entrance area of the UFS Sasol Library.
Photo: Johan Roux
15 March 2013

The UFS Sasol Library on the Bloemfontein Campus has been renovated with a fresh new look to cater for the changing study needs of students. Over the last few months several upgrades have been made to ensure that students get an effective learning experience.

These upgrades will be spread over three phases. Upgrades include newly-built overnight study facilities, partitioned study areas for postgraduate students and areas for leisure reading. Special attention has also been given to security, with the access control system and the tattle-tape security system being moved to the foyer on Level 2. This level, which used to serve only as a thoroughfare to and from the eastern and western parts of the library, has been turned into proper foyers on either side.

"The UFS Library and Information Services are on a mission to present itself as the physical and virtual information hub of choice," says Director Betsy Eister. "The increased intake of new students and technological developments has sparked the notion of new and revamped study spaces conducive to learning.”

Eister says that, after the completion of all three phases, the library will have increased study spaces that appeal to different people with different needs – spaces for studying, leisure reading, newspaper reading, accessing wired and wireless connections and spaces for discussions.

The project which started in October 2012 is part of the university's space-planning projects to optimally utilise space on the Bloemfontein Campus. The project will also see the Centre for Teaching and Learning move to Level 3 of the library.

Hendri Pretorius from the Department of Architecture was the Project Leader responsible for the upgrades to the Library.

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