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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

Water use on campus
2015-12-14


Report water wastage on the campuses.

 High temperatures and the fact that no rain was falling, puts pressure on the existing water supply. The Free State is one of the most arid areas in the country, and the province was also declared a drought area by the government.

It is therefore very important that the UFS community will use water sparingly – both where you live and in the workplace.

Report water wastage on the campuses by sending an email to news@ufs.ac.za or phone 051 401 3422.

Tips to use water sparingly in the workplace:

- Set up an inventory regarding water use and identifiable water management goals in your department. Control this to indicate progress.
- Keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge to avoid running the tap until the water is cold.
- Fill the kettle with water according to your needs.
- Sweep paving with a broom instead of washing it with water.
- Apply mulch to your garden, as it can reduce water use by up to 70%.
- Don’t rinse glasses and other dishes under running water. Plug the sink and reuse the water in the garden.
- Where possible, recycle water. Support projects making use of recycled water.
- When waiting for hot water to come out of the tap, place a bucket under the tap so that the cold water can be used later.
- Don’t let water run wild. Make sure all taps in the kitchen or bathroom are closed when leaving the office/residence.

Tips to use water sparingly at home:

- Showering can use up to 20 litres of water per minute. Take short showers, less than 5 minutes.
- Turn the tap off between washing your face, brushing your teeth or shaving
- Ensure that you have a full load of washing when using the washing machine.

Source: water tips: Rand Water, Bloem Water.

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