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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

Fasset continues to fuel academic excellence at the UFS
2017-12-15


  Description: Fasset  read more Tags: Fasset, Accounting, INTRABAS, Finance, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

  Programme Director: School of Accounting, Prof Hentie van Wyk, and
  Dean: Economic and Management Sciences, Prof Hendri Kroukamp
  excited about the unveiling of the Finance and Accounting Services
  Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset)
  plaque at the School of Accounting.
  Photo: Rulanzen Martin

The School of Accounting on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) held an unveiling ceremony for a Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (Fasset) plaque. The plaque was unveiled by UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, and Fasset CEO, Lesego Lebuso. This was in honour of Fasset’s partnership with the UFS and its contribution towards driving academic excellence through its Intrabas projects over the past few years.
 
Funding for teaching and learning initiatives
These projects support the development of black student enrolment and performance in Accounting Studies. During the previous year, Fasset gave the UFS R54 million in funding to support teaching and learning initiatives for 960 black Accounting students. These students were enrolled for BAcc, BCom(Acc), BAcc(Hons)/PGDipCA, and BCom(Hons in Acc)/PGDipGA studies. In the same year, a celebratory ceremony was held at the South Campus for 125 Fasset-funded students to celebrate their academic excellence.
 
 Prof Hentie van Wyk, Programme Director: School of Accounting, said, “FASSET funding will give the Centre for Accounting (as it was then called) an opportunity to strengthen our current student-centred teaching model”. This seemed like a prophecy, because at the beginning of 2017, the class of 2016 BAccHons students achieved a 96% pass rate in the 2017 Initial Test of Competence (ITC) examinations of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

Millions contributed towards accounting degrees
In 2017, Fasset sponsored 114 students on the Bloemfontein Campus with full bursaries amounting to more than R20 million through the Intrabas bursary fund for degree qualifications in BAccHons, BComHons (Acc), BAcc, BComAcc and BComAcc Extended programmes, as well as the tutorial programme managed by the School of Accountancy. On the Qwaqwa Campus, Fasset has given more than R7 million worth of funding.
 
James Veitch, Senior Officer: School of Accounting, said, “A decision was made to rather fund less students so that they could be assisted with greater effect, and students who did not qualify for the bursaries, would still be assisted through the support programme.”

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