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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

House Tswelopele hosts first Security Guard Appreciation Day
2015-09-28


Our unsung heroes being honoured for their hard work.

Imagine all access points, residences, and major events devoid of security. Mojaki Mothibi had this unsettling image in mind when he decided to organise and host the inaugural Security Appreciation Day.

Security guards work day and night to create a safe and conducive environment for our students and staff. On Friday 18 September 2015, security guards from the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Protection Services were shown appreciation for keeping the Bloemfontein Campus crime-free.

According to Mojaki, the initiative was also to support the Be Safe campaign, championed by the university’s Department of Communication and Brand Management. 

“I created an Appreciation Day for all the security guards who work so hard to keep us safe, to say thanks, and to ask them to continue keeping us safe,” said the outgoing Tswelopele Prime.

Addressing security guards at the event, Mojaki conveyed a message of admiration. “We appreciate the tenacity that you show and the protection that you constantly provide us with,” he stated.

Thabo Tsautse, a security guard at the university, applauded Mojaki and House Tswelopele as a collective for recognising their efforts as service providers. “This is the first residence in the history of the UFS to appreciate our work,” he said.

The event concluded with members of the residence presenting snack packs to the unsung heroes as a token of appreciation.

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