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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

First residence for UFS South Campus
2016-09-01

Description: First residence for UFS South Campus Tags: First residence for UFS South Campus

The residence has 146 double rooms with 17 kitchens
overall, each corridor has one kitchen. The residence
also has a gazellie and a conference room that
can accommodate 50 people.
Photo: Charl Devenish

The South Campus of the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein now has its own student residence. Completed in June 2016, the new residence can accommodate 250 undergraduate and 20 postgraduate students.
 
The residence has 270 beds, with 20 single-bedroom flats and 12 additional single rooms in the corridors.  Each of these single-bedroom flats has a kitchen, lounge, and a bathroom. There are 146 double rooms with 17 kitchens overall, each corridor has one kitchen. The residence also has a gazellie, a conference room that can accommodate 50 people, as well as eight laundry rooms with a drying area.
 
“Students at the South Campus have, up until now, been commuting from the Bloemfontein Campus and residential areas around town. We are extremely proud that accommodation will now be available to our students on the campus. Although the official opening of the residence is said to take place early in 2017, some students have already moved in,” says Prof Daniella Coetzee, Principal of the South Campus.
 
The residence was built at a cost of R57 million, which was funded by the UFS and the Department of Higher Education and Training.
 
Residence accessible to differently-abled people
The UFS strives to cater for differently-abled people by making all its buildings accessible to them. This residence is no exception, as it has two rooms available on the ground floor of Block C for differently-abled students. These rooms accommodate two students per room.
 
A one-of-a-kind newly installed water system
The residence is also the first at the university that has a grey-water system installed. Grey water is made up of bath, shower, and bathroom sink water. The water will then be reused for toilet flushing as well as for irrigation purposes on the campus.

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