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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 steps up measures to keep staff and students safe
2013-09-17

Badenhorst gate
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
18 September 2013

The University of the Free (UFS) has extended measures to ensure the safety of its staff and students on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Part of this initiative includes the closure of the gate at Badenhorst Street in Universitas near Roosmaryn residence for traffic as from 1 October 2013. Pedestrians who can present a valid student or staff card or any form of official identification will still be allowed to access this gate. No vehicles will be allowed to pass through the Badenhorst gate after this date, though.

In addition, the pedestrian gate at the sports grounds on the western campus will also be closed from 1 October 2013.

The gate at the Agriculture Building in DF Malherbe Avenue will now be closed at 22:00 every night and over weekends, instead of being open 24 hours a day.

Closing these gates forms part of the university’s strategy to increase safety measures on the Bloemfontein Campus. Further efforts will follow to restrict access to the campus – such as the installation of an integrated electronic security systems. An intensive safety awareness campaign aimed at staff and students has also been launched and tips on how to stay safe are extensively being communicated.

Furthermore, the university will have a caravan present at major events to attract attention to security and implement a strategy to make the areas around the Bloemfontein Campus safer for students.



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