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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: Decisions about the UFS academic calendar
2016-09-22

Resulting from the closure of the campuses of the University of the Free State this week, the following decisions regarding the academic calendar have been taken by the university management:

1. Students who missed tests and/or lectures during the week of 19 to 23 September 2016 are requested to contact their respective faculties as from Monday 26 September 2016. This arrangement is also applicable to students whose tests and/or classes were disrupted on Monday 19 September 2016.

2. All tests and lectures scheduled for the week of 26-30 September 2016 will continue as normal.

3. The recess will take place as scheduled in the official university calendar (i.e. 3-7 October 2016).

4. Exams will continue as scheduled in the official university calendar. The main exam will still take place from 24 October to 12 November 2016, and the additional exam will take place from 14 November to 2 December 2016.

All academic and administrative services will resume on Monday 26 September 2016.

The above arrangements are applicable to all three campuses of the UFS.

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