Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Physical Planning lives in recaptured space
2014-06-18

When the Department of Physical Planning decided on a new office premises, the team decided to tackle the project with an overarching theme – recycling.

It is important for Physical Planning to not only dictate to other departments on campus, but to set the example themselves,” says Nico Janse van Rensburg, Director: Physical Planning at the UFS. 

Recaptured space

New office space on campus is simply not available. It was therefore decided to recover space and a store room was identified. “Fortunately, the storage area had ceilings. However, it was dilapidated and was sagging all over. To divert attention from the ceiling, we painted it in a dark colour and the walls white.

“All wiring was also done superficially. It draws the attention away from the uneven surfaces and simplifies work on the wiring. Instead of trying to hide it, we made a focal point of it,” says Janse van Rensburg.

Recycled building materials

Lots of the building material that was used to convert the storage space into offices, was recovered from other building projects on campus. Material that would normally be discarded was utilised creatively to not only serve a practical purpose, but also an aesthetic one.

A laboratory basin was used as wash basin. Remaining parts of granite slabs from other sites were utilised as top for the basin. Existing toilets were also reused. To enhance the atmosphere, new taps in an affordable, but durable range were installed.

Recycled furniture

We rambled through every possible store room to find furniture. Tables were simply sanded and varnished and look better than new. Even the cabinet at the entrance was saved from wind and weather and reused.

Hot and smart

Only one screen wall was built. It was left in raw brick, unplastered and unpainted to contribute to contrasting textures. Existing walls were left painted or unpainted as it was before.

“The environment that was created breaks down several existing perceptions. Such as the perception that everything has to match; everything has to be plastered and painted and many others. This is an example of how different materials can be combined to create a lively environment.

“Staff members have already moved into their new offices and are very satisfied,” says Janse van Rensburg. 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept