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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

Suspect in theft of computer equipment arrested
2007-11-16

A suspect, who may be involved in the recent theft of computer equipment from buildings on the Bloemfontein campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), has been arrested.

On 13 November 2007 an alarm in the Agriculture Building on the Main Campus of the UFS was activated. Protection Services reacted to the alarm and the person, who tried to run away, was pursued and later arrested.

The suspect was handed to the South African Police Service (SAPS). Currently SAPS is conducting an intensive investigation in co-operation with Protection Services at the UFS.

“The extent of the investigation goes beyond this single case for which the captive was arrested,” said Mr Willie Frankim, Manager: Protection Services at the UFS.

Meanwhile, the UFS’s Safety Committee has decided on a number of measures to heighten security on campus, including:

  • Patrols between buildings are to be intensified.
  • Vehicles leaving the campus will be searched. This is being done on an ad hoc basis at all the gates.

According to Mr Frankim the university is also looking at extending the alarm system and measures to secure buildings on campus.
He said: “The above will not happen overnight. We request all staff members and students to give their co-operation and to be more security conscious by:

  • Giving their co-operation at the gates when their vehicle is searched,
  • To ensure that the windows of your office and building are closed,
  • To lock office doors when you leave the office, even if it is for a short while,
  • Not to leave your office unattended when there are strangers,
  • to report suspicious persons as soon as possible to Protection Services,
  • To ensure that valuable articles (laptops and cell phones) are locked away,
  • To ensure the safekeeping of keys (not in drawers or on top of a door frame), and
  • Determine who has access to a building and question anybody unknown.”

Contact Protection Services at any of the following numbers:

Duty room: O51-4012634 / 051-4012911

Mr Aggrey Litseho (investigation officer): 051-4013225 / 0836347919 /
Short cell phone x6060

Mr Willie Frankim (manager): 051 401 3438 / 0828831760/
Short cell phone x6000

“We can only combat crime if everybody is aware of their environment, everybody adheres to the basic rules and co-operates with Protection Services,” said Mr Frankim.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
15 November 2007
 

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