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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. 


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State of our campuses: UFS Bloemfontein and South Campuses closed on Tuesday 20 September 2016
2016-09-19

After much consideration, the senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) decided to close the Bloemfontein and South Campuses on Tuesday 20 September 2016.

Bloemfontein Campus:
No academic and administrative services will be available and no lectures and/or tests will take place.

The decision comes after all academic activities were suspended this afternoon because of a growing unease on campus and disruption of some academic activities by groups of students resulting from this morning’s announcement on tuition fees by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande.

The closing of the campus will afford an opportunity to the senior leadership to further engage with the Student Representative Council (SRC).

South Campus:
Because of problems with bus transport from the Bloemfontein Campus to the South Campus, no academic services will be available tomorrow. No lectures and/or tests will therefore take place. Administrative services will, however, continue, and staff on the South Campus have to report for work.

Qwaqwa Campus:

Academic and administrative services on the Qwaqwa Campus will continue as normal tomorrow.

Information about the situation on the campuses will be shared as and when it becomes available during the course of tomorrow.

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