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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 Albert Wessels Auditorium officially unveiled
2013-05-19

 

Dr Johan van Zyl (President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Toyota South Africa and CEO for Toyota Africa) and Judge Ian van der Merwe (Chairperson of the UFS Council) unveil the redesigned Albert Wessels Auditorium.
Photo: Johan Roux
20 May 2013

The swanky new interior and entrance of the Albert Wessels Auditorium WA) were officially unveiled on Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) on Friday 10 May 2013.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector, and Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council, presided over the AWA unveiling ceremony. They were joined by a special guest, whose company has a long affiliation with the UFS and the AWA in particular.

Dr Johan van Zyl, the current President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Toyota South Africa and CEO for Toyota Africa, unveiled the commemorative plaque at the new entrance. Dr Van Zyl reaffirmed the relationship between Toyota South Africa and the UFS, which can be traced back to the founder of his company.

The namesake of the AWO was the founder of Toyota South Africa. Dr Wessels was at one time married to Elizabeth Eybers, the acclaimed poet who won the Hertzog Prize in 1934 and 1971. Could she have inspired Wessels’ love of the arts? Regardless, the AWA will serve as a world-class facility for the arts, corporate meetings and seminars, from now on. The AWA can now seat 196 people on its luxurious red leather seats.

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