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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

History book available from UFS Marketing
2007-02-01

The university’s history book, "From Grey to Gold", is available from UFS Marketing.

The book will soon be delivered to persons who have ordered copies of the book. UFS Marketing is in the process of distributing the books.

However, persons are also welcome to collect the book from Rinda Duraan or Ronél Meyer at the offices of UFS Marketing in the Wekkie Saayman Building.  

Additional copies in Afrikaans or English are also available from UFS Marketing at R380 per copy. Please contact Ronél Meyer at X2150 or Rinda Duraan at X2143 for inquiries.

A proud 100 years

The history of the University of the Free State is one of faith, hope, struggle and determination. In the course of a century, and from a poor Free State community, the UFS has developed into a strong and mature university. This book, richly illustrated with photographs, tells its fascinating story, including:

  • Its establishment
  • The role of the founding fathers
  • Black pioneers of transformation
  • The establishment and development of academic departments and faculties; student numbers
  • Pioneers and trends in research; academic entrepreneurs
  • Campus issues; campus politics
  • The UFS’s place in socio-political changes
  • Student life: Rag, intervarsity and cheerleaders; sport and Springboks; hostel traditions
  • The admission of black students; anguish about race, language and culture
  • The story of “digs” and hostels, of Tin Town and the “Vlei”, Darkest Africa and the Red Square
  • The development of the campus, of the Tickey and the Banana
  • Of hardships in the founding years, good times and turn-around strategies
  • Community service and regional involvement and a new focus on the African continent.

Some interesting reading:

  • More than 500 pages
  • Hundreds of photographs
  • Appendices on office-bearers; awards and achievements (including national sporting colours)
  • A time-line situating the UFS’s history in the context of the history of the Free State, of South Africa and of the world

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