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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

Gate re-opens to allow limited access
2014-01-29

The end of 2013 has marked the escalation of the university’s stranglehold on crime. With the launch of the B|Smart Campaign, the entire Kovsie community has been sharpening their safety senses.

Amidst this drive towards increased safety on the Bloemfontein Campus, the university has made an interim decision to close one of the gates. As from 1 October 2013, the gate at Badenhorst Street in Universitas near Roosmaryn residence has been closed for traffic.

As the safety initiative is gaining momentum, the matter of the closed gate has recently been reviewed. The university provisionally decided to re-open the gate to grant limited entry for vehicles and pedestrians, with immediate effect.

Only staff and students of the university, and legitimate visitors to the Bloemfontein Campus, will be allowed access. The gate will only be open during weekdays between:

  • 06:30 – 08:30 and
  • 16:00 – 18:00.

No entry will be allowed during weekends, as has been the case in the past.

“A student or staff card will ensure easy access and anybody else would have to validate their reason for entering,” explained Mokgawa Kobe, Director of Protection Services. Legitimate visitors will have to explain or prove their reason for wishing to enter the campus, he said. Absolutely no thoroughfare will be allowed.

Electronic access control is being implemented and as soon as this has been completed, the gate will be fully operational again.

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