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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

Funding available for Research Master’s and Doctoral studies
2015-11-30

The University of the Free State (UFS) has announced the availability of tuition bursaries for full-time and part-time studies in 2016.

All research master’s and PhD students who register in 2016 will receive funding to cover their tuition fees. South African and international students are eligible to apply.

The total value of the funding is equivalent to the annual tuition fees applicable for students from the SADC region, while the tuition of international students will be covered for 33% of the value of their studies.

Funding is available for two years for master’s students, and three and four years respectively for full-time and part-time PhD students. Renewal of the funding will be dependent on the previous year’s academic progress. To qualify, students must meet all academic requirements of the UFS and must have been provisionally admitted to an academic programme.

The UFS also recently announced that final-year undergraduate students, as well as students from other universities, may apply and pay no application or registration fees for an Honours degree in 2016. Click here for more information about Honours studies in 2016.

The Postgraduate School in the Johannes Brill Building can provide more information about all the scholarships, bursaries as well as offer research training support available for postgraduate studies.

The deadline for applications for Honours bursaries was 30 November 2015. There is no deadline for master’s and PhD bursary applications, as postgraduate students can register for these qualifications throughout the year.

All postgraduate application enquires can be directed to Ms Joy Nogabe on +27(0)51 401 7161 or nogabesj@ufs.ac.za.


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