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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

The 70th Intervarsity between the UFS and North-West University approaches
2013-07-10

 

Intervarsity programme (pdf)

In what promises to be a spectacular event, the University of the Free State (UFS) will host the 70th Intervarsity between the UFS and North-West University (NWU) from 9–10 August 2013.

Students, staff and spectators from all three NWU campuses – Potchefstroom, Mafikeng and Vanderbijlpark – will flock to Bloemfontein to participate in one of the country’s oldest sport contests between universities. The rivalry between the two universities is one of the most reckoned events on the local and national sports and student calendars, and it is widely supported.

Rugby, soccer, hockey, netball, volleyball and basketball will satisfy sports fans’ appetite during the weekend. For a more cultural dose, choral singing and debating competitions, as well as dialogue between student leaders will take place. All campuses of the two universities will participate in the programmes.

Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs at the UFS, said the celebration of the 70th Intervarsity between the two institutions will be an important milestone to commemorate decades of friendship, collaboration and healthy competition.

“At Intervarsity 2013 not only do we celebrate a 70-year-legacy of friendship, but also see the potential of another 70 years of shared growth in a new country. We're especially excited with new events that focus on students debating societal issues and celebrating the vibrant diversity of artistic and cultural genres of our society. These events will be remembered for long."

As a run-up to Intervarsity, the university will also host the second annual Intravarsity between the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses with sport and cultural teams from the two campuses competing against each other. Intravarsity 2013will behosted on the Qwaqwa Campus and will take place from 26–27 July 2013.

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