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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

UFS student missing after being accosted in Phuthaditjhaba
2014-10-15

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) management and Student Representative Council (SRC) at the Qwaqwa Campus are working around the clock to find Sinethemba Shezi, third-year BEd student, who was accosted on Friday 10 October 2014 at approximately 20:30 whilst walking to the campus with a friend.

The students wanted to study at the campus facilities, as they stay off-campus.

The matter was immediately reported to the university’s Campus Protection Services, who alerted the South African Police Service (SAPS). A search party, made up of members of the SAPS, the UFS Protection Services and the SRC, searched the area throughout the night.

Mr Shezi is still missing, despite various SAPS units – dogs, helicopter and divers – searching the area over the weekend until this afternoon (Tuesday 14 October 2014).

The campus community and the SAPS are doing everything possible to find Mr Shezi. His family is receiving support from the university.

The university management appeals to anybody with information to assist by calling one of the following persons:

Prof Prakash Naidoo                                             
Campus Principal
+27(0)72 621 7135
 
Mr Teboho Manchu
Campus Vice-Principal: Support Services
+27(0)83 629 9343
 
Mr Tautona Moloi
Head: Protection Services
+27(0)81 015 3299


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


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