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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

Kovsies welcomes first-years into the fold
2015-01-20

Three first-year students from the Kestell residence that attended the first-year welcoming.
Photos: Johan Roux


 

Few life experiences are as exciting as becoming part of a university. On Friday 16 January 2015, Kovsies embraced our first-year students into our family after great anticipation.

That evening, first-years and their parents streamed to the Red Square on our Bloemfontein Campus where they were formally welcomed. This event also served to kick off the 2015 Gateway Programme – an orientation programme for all our first-years.

Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations, addressed the first-years and congratulated them on their excellent matric results.

“The fact that you are here is a testimony to the level you are able to work at,” Dr Makhetha said.“You will have fun and make friends at the UFS. Your friends will be from different backgrounds and speak different languages than you. Embrace it all. You are now a part of the UFS family.

President of the Student Representative Council (SRC), Mosa Leteane, also reassured first-years that they are where they belong – at a university that inspires excellence.“This is the only space where the university’s international relations give opportunity to first-years to travel abroad with our F1 Leadership for Change Programme,” Leteane said. “It is the only space where the rector openly talks to his students, without having an appointment. It is the only space in our country where no student goes hungry due to our No Student Hungry (NSH) Programme.”

The following evening provided a spectacular live show with well-known artists Karen Zoid and Vusi Mahlasela entertaining the crowd. They performed alongside the Free State Symphony Orchestra (FSSO) that added even more dazzle to this Gateway/NSH first-years concert.

On Saturday 17 January, the new-comers had an opportunity to visit their respective faculties and get to know the staff and facilities a bit better.

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