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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

Planetarium now open to the public
2013-11-27

The Naval Hill Planetarium

The Naval Hill Planetarium, the first digital planetarium in sub-Saharan Africa, will now screen regular shows and is inviting members of the public to attend shows every Friday from 29 November 2013.

This planetarium was inaugurated on Friday 1 November 2013 and the response has been overwhelming.

Prof Matie Hoffmann from the Department of Physics at the University of the Free State, says the public and visitors in Bloemfontein are very eager to visit the planetarium to learn more about the night sky.

The highly-rated full dome show, Space Junk, will be screened on Friday 29 November 2013 and Friday 6 December 2013 at the Naval Hill Planetarium.

The Space Junk show at the planetarium collides head-on with Gravity, the blockbuster science-fiction thriller and space drama that was on circuit in movie theatres in South Africa during the past few weeks!

In 2014 the planetarium will provide a regular public programme as from 13 January 2014.

In the meantime, people can book for programmes on Friday evenings at 19:00 until Friday 13 December. Group appointments can also be made by special arrangement.

For more information please contact Yolandie Loots at ficky@ufs.ac.za for more information.

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