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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

Travel 120 million light years this July holiday
2014-07-07

The first digital planetarium in sub-Saharan Africa – situated on Naval Hill, right here in Bloemfontein – opened on 1 November 2013. The University of the Free State (UFS) is managing this facility.

In view of the July holiday, special family programmes will be hosted on Friday night, 11 July 2014. The programme includes the following shows:

Nanocam
Nanocam (you shrink down to the size of an insect and fly through the eye of a needle) is a microscopic joyride into the five kingdoms of living organisms. The show offers a compelling, educational and funny approach to life that has never been seen like this before.

Fragile Planet
Fragile Planet offers a journey of 120 million light years to rediscover our home. The audience experiences an astronaut’s view of the earth, highlighting earth’s unique regions.

The pre-produced programmes are all in English, but the live presentation and tour through the universe will be alternately in Afrikaans or English.

Tariffs
Adults: R50
Learners, students and pensioners: R30

Buy tickets at
- The planetarium before shows;
- Computicket (at all Checkers, Shoprite, House and Home and Checkers Hyper shops);
Computicket’s enquiry centre (08619158000), or
- Online at www.online.computicket.com (look for ‘planetarium’), for mobile devices go to www.computicket.mobi (look for ‘planetarium’).

For any enquiries, you are welcome to contact Yolandie Loots at FickY@ufs.ac.za or on +27(0)51 401 9751.





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