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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

BAccHons students achieve A+ rating in ITC exams
2017-09-07

Description: Accounting staff Tags: accounting, examinations, Thuthuka bursary, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Initial Test of Competence 

The lecturers of the 2016 BAccHons class: Liesel Botha,
Prof Alta Koekemoer, Prof Cobus Rossouw, Mr Kobus Swanepoel,
Dr Cornelie Crous, Prof Hentie van Wyk, and Mr Shaun Watson.
Photo: Supplied

 


The 2016 BAccHons students in the School of Accountancy at the University of the Free State achieved a 96% pass rate in the 2017 Initial Test of Competence (ITC) examinations of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). The ITC examinations took place in January and June, and of the 49 students that partook in the examinations, 47 passed.

Prof Hentie van Wyk, Programme Director of the School of Accountancy, said with these results, the School of Accountancy ranks among the top accountancy institutions in South Africa. “The UFS is one of 14 accredited universities offering the SAICA-accredited programme,” he said.

New teaching model a success

A new teaching and learning module, which was introduced by the School of Accountancy in 2013, seemed to have fuelled the success of the students, as it is now more learner-centred and introduced more structured support to students.  

The same strategies will be followed for the current 2017 intake. “We achieved an average pass rate of 84.8% over the past five years and if we can build on that, it will be an achievement of note,” says Prof Van Wyk. However, students should understand that much of these achievements are in their own hands.  “After leaving the UFS, they must continue with the preparations for the ITC examinations in order to guarantee their success. The ball is actually in the students’ court,” he said.

Of the African students, 91% were successful in the national examinations, while 100% of the Thuthuka bursary students passed. The average pass rate for the past five years is as follows:

2016     96%
2015     72%
2014     80%
2013     84%
2012     92%.

 

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