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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

Stakeholders endorse UFS’s vision and strategy
2014-05-27

Results from a perception audit commissioned by the University of the Free State (UFS) in February 2014 have been finalised. The audit indicates that 86,14% of the university’s internal and external stakeholders agree with the institution's stated vision. An average of 81,99% of stakeholders endorse our values and 81,28% agree with our goals. 

The study was commissioned by the university's Department of Communication and Brand Management and conducted by an external firm of independent researchers. It was aimed at determining internal and external stakeholder understanding and endorsement of university strategy, as well as tracking core reputational indicators and perceptions.

The study was conducted among a representative sample of 23 stakeholder groupings, including staff, current and prospective students, donors, alumni, school principals, community leaders, potential employers of students and international partner universities.

Two similar audits were conducted in the last ten years – in 2005 and again in 2008 after the Reitz incident. Although a direct comparison of findings would not be psychometrically rigorous due to differing research modelling and sampling methods, there is a strong indication that the perception of the institution's stakeholders has shifted.

The uniqueness of the study and the research model developed for the project have recently received international recognition from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The prestigious Jack Whittmer Research Award was presented to the university on 9 June 2014 during the Excellence Awards Gala of the association's world conference held in Toronto, Canada.

Read the full release (pdf)

 

 

Issued by: Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2584 or +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27(0)51 444 6393

 

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