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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

University welcomes new first-year students
2014-01-20

 

"Welcome to Kovsieland! The time of your life has just begun."

With these words Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, welcomed thousands of new first-year students. They attended a welcome ceremony with parents and guardians on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The arrival of first-year students saw the campus come to life, with the area in front of the Main Building turned into an open-air venue. A festive atmosphere prevailed, with live music filling the air and residences camping on the grass surrounding the area. Those who came out to welcome the new first-years, included members of the rectorate, the deans of all seven faculties and the student leadership.

"You are the smartest in the country," Prof Jansen told the new Kovsie students, informing them that thousands applied, but did not make it because of limited space. "We took the best students," he informed the large crowd, telling them that the more than 4 000 new Kovsies come from all over South Africa and the continent.

"This university is about high academic standards for its staff and its students. This is a place where we respect people, irrespective of where they come from, how they pray and how they love," Prof Jansen added.

Prof Jansen brought laugher to the audience, sharing tips for first-years from senior students, among them jewels like, "Wear flip-flops in the shower, you never know what the science students left behind" and "Don't keep your boyfriend back home, you never know what you will get at the university."

Phiwe Mathe, SRC President of the Bloemfontein Campus, added to the list of tips, telling first-years to have a hunger for knowledge and be open minded. "Participate in life on campus and ask important questions," he urged them. "There is plenty to learn at this university. "

Here is an idea where our students come from:
Eastern Cape: 395
Free State: 1701
Gauteng: 632
KwaZulu-Natal: 692
Limpopo: 333
Mpumalanga: 211
Northern Cape: 313
North-West Province: 243
Western Cape: 171

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