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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

UFS establishes Centre for Education Development
2007-09-26

At its meeting on 14 September 2007 the Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) took a number of key decisions on matters recommended by the Executive Management of the university for its consideration or approval.
 
The Council gave the green light for the merger of the Section Upgrading of Education (School of Education) and Research Institute for Education Planning (RIEP) to create a single unit for education development. The qualifications and courses currently offered by these two units will henceforth be offered by the newly formed unit. The new unit will be known as the Centre for Education Development.
 
Under this new dispensation, amongst others, the functions of the unit will be extended to include other in-service training of teachers and empowering courses and qualifications as well. Some of the existing RIEP courses will be converted into credit-bearing short courses in more learning areas than are presently available, and that the focus will also be on offering short courses as the need may arise. Research will become a prominent function of this new unit.
 
The Council has also approved the reinstatement of the Department of Genetics as a stand-alone department. Currently Genetics is a sub-discipline of Plant Sciences. Its reinstatement as an independent department will have several advantages for the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, as well as the university, namely:
 
- with its own identity, Genetics as a subject will attract more students, through which the UFS will be able to get more subsidies.
- postgraduate students who leave the university for others will have an incentive to stay.
- researchers in Animal Genetics and Behavioural Genetics will be able to fulfil their full role.
- service delivery to the industry will result in the generation of third-stream income.
 
The Council also extended the terms of office of the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Johan Henning, and that of the Director of Finance, Mr Chris Liebenberg, for a further five years each.
 
The Council further appointed Dr Elias Nyefolo Malete as the Campus Principal of the UFS Qwaqwa Campus for a term of three years. Dr Malete has been acting in that position prior to his appointment.
 
Other matters involved the condonation of the Council’s 1995 resolution to sell the Hertzog House in Goddard Street in Bloemfontein, and the approval of the sale of another house in Biddulph Street in Harrismith.
 
Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za
26 September 2007

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