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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 celebrates multi-campus system
2013-06-01

 

Qwaqwa Campus, Bloemfontein Campus, South Campus
Photos: Sonia Small
04 June 2013

The University of the Free State is celebrating 10 years of the multi-campus system this year.

Uniqwa – as it was known when it was still part of the University of the North, was incorporated into the UFS in 2003, becoming the Qwaqwa Campus.

Following shortly on this event, a satellite campus of the Vista University also became part of the UFS family and was renamed to the South Campus.

The multi-campus system enables the UFS to offer a comprehensive choice of study programmes. “Our multi-campus system offers greater access to higher education with the Qwaqwa Campus offering tuition in the faculties of the Humanities, Education, Economic and Management Sciences as well as Natural and Agricultural Sciences,” says Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Affairs.

“On the other hand,” Dr Makhetha continues,“the South Campus strategically covers learners let down by the South African school system by offering them extended programmes that would ultimately help them enter the mainstream programmes successfully.”

The formal festivities on the Qwaqwa Campus will kick off on Friday 7 June 2013.

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