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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

Highlights of South Campus
2017-01-18

Description: ACT online South Campus Tags: ACT online South Campus

Description: South Campus new residence Tags: South Campus new residence

Description: South Campus supplementary school Tags: South Campus supplementary school

We look back on 2016 to pick out the outstanding achievements of our three campuses. Here is a selection of headlines from the South Campus.

Fully online Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT)

In July 2016, the South Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) became the first in South Africa to introduce an online platform for teachers to obtain the Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT). This unique platform, entirely online, provides teachers the opportunity to complete these certificates faster than before.

First residence for UFS South Campus
In the second semester of 2016, a new residence, named Legae, was opened on the South Campus, with 146 double rooms and 17 kitchens. The new residence accommodates 250 undergraduate and 20 postgraduate students and has 270 beds, 20 single-bedroom flats, 12 additional single rooms, as well as eight laundry rooms and a drying area. Since the UFS strives to cater for differently-abled people, this residence has two rooms available on the ground floor of Block C for differently-abled students.

The residence is also the first at the university that has a grey-water system installed. This water will then be reused for toilet flushing as well as for irrigation purposes on the campus.

South Campus supplementary schools foster future Kovsies
The Monyetla Bursary Project, in partnership with the UFS and other sponsors, presents an annual Winter School for Grade 12 learners on the South Campus. In addition, a Saturday school for Grade 12s has been in operation since 2007.

“Champion teachers in the district assist learners”

Each Saturday, 650 learners attend the classes. Chris Grobler, a science teacher at Navalsig High School in Bloemfontein, who organises both schools, says: “The 1 200 learners at the Winter School came not only from the Free State but from as far as the North West province, Gauteng, and Eastern Cape. We are very pleased about this, as it means that the image of the UFS is being carried further afield.”

A special feature included in this year’s programme was interpreting services in South African Sign Language (SASL) for deaf students.

 

 

 

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