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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

State of our campuses: UFS extends vacation as from 28 September until 7 October 2016
2016-09-28

In solidarity with the call for free education for the poor and missing middle, a discussion was held with the University Management Committee this morning, in consultation with the student leadership, and after careful assessment of operational matters on all three campuses of the University of the Free State (UFS), we agreed upon the following:
 
1.    All classes, tests, and assignments will be suspended until Friday 7 October 2016. This means that the university will close on Wednesday 28 September 2016 for an extended vacation until 7 October 2016. The academic programme will resume on Monday 10 October 2016.
                     
2.    This will allow the entire university time to demonstrate solidarity, in collaboration with student leadership, academic and support staff, and the broader community in support of free higher education for the poor and missing middle.
                  
3.    The administration of the university will continue on Thursday 29
September 2016, and staff will have access to their offices to plan the additional academic support for students, to consider the re-scheduling of the academic calendar, to engage with the Department of Higher Education and Training in relation to the students’ demands, and to continue with support services during the extended vacation.
 
4.    The university management and student leadership will also, over the next three days, engage in discussions to provide for a platform that is conducive to continued collaboration between students and the university leadership.
 
5.    The suspension of tests, classes, and assignments will also allow time for a social compact and code of ethics for protests to be agreed upon and signed between student leadership and the university management.

 In respect of the Qwaqwa Campus, some protesting students yesterday intimidated others and forcibly removed staff, as well as security personnel. Today, university property was burnt. In view of our commitment to the safety of staff, students, and university property at the campus, it was necessary to evacuate the campus – including residences – with immediate effect. However, residential students are allowed to remain on campus until midday tomorrow (28 September 2016).

The university leadership again wants to emphasise its support for a national policy of free education for the poor and missing middle and stresses its support for peaceful protests on matters that are of concern to our students.
 
We further understand the frustration of many students and their parents/guardians at the closure of the campuses and the impact it has on academic staff, staff in the Support Services, our security personnel, teaching, learning, projects, assignments, lectures, tests, fieldwork, and the academic calendar in general, and commit to do all in our power to ensure the delivery of quality education to all our students under difficult circumstances.


Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

 

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