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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

Major infrastructure development planned for three campuses
2014-01-06

 

DHET Sound Studio, African Languages and Humanities projects.
More students will be accommodated on our campuses, with two new residences being built on the Qwaqwa and Bloemfontein Campuses respectively. The residences are part of a grant received by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

The new residences will accommodate 250 students each and the planned completion date is end of 2014.

Other major projects planned for the three campuses are a Student Life Centre on the Qwaqwa Campus, new lecture halls for the South Campus and a new sound studio on the Bloemfontein Campus. The sound studio will be erected where the old squash courts used to be.

The Department of Physical Planning stated the aim is to create a facility that can house a recording studio that will function as a multi-purpose centre where students can get practical experience in sound and visual recording. Albie Louw, Chief Officer: Property Management in the Department of Physical Planning, says the studio will have a screening room, a multi-camera recording studio, editing room, video- and audio-control room and lecture-recording studios.

The projects have different completion dates, but all fall within the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 financial years.

On the Qwaqwa Campus, the existing amphitheatre in front of the library will get a roof, so that it can be used more effectively and be more accessible. It will create a new active open space that can be utilised by students for informal study, a social space and for formal functions or promotions.

Other facilities to be upgraded include the electrical infrastructure on the Qwaqwa Campus. Disability access on the campus will also be improved.

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