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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

R12-million to train black chartered accountants
2008-10-09

The Centre for Accounting at the University of the Free State (UFS) will receive about R12-million over the next four years from the Thuthuka Bursary Fund to train black learners as chartered accountants.

The bursary fund is managed by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and is aimed at increasing the number of black students who obtain the Bachelor degree in Accounting.

Prof. Hentie van Wyk, Programme Director of the Centre for Accounting at the UFS, says that the membership of the chartered accounting profession (SAICA) does not currently reflect the demographics of the country. The aim of the bursary fund is to straighten this imbalance.

“The first intake of 50 first-year students is in 2009. The bursary fund makes provision for about R60 000 per student. This amount covers the student’s class fees, residence fees, meals and the financing of tutors. We will also make use of tutors and guest lecturers who will teach the students life skills, among others. The centre will appoint a co-ordinator to assist students with this,” says Prof. Van Wyk.

The UFS is accredited by SAICA to handle the Thuthuka training. During a monitoring visit from SAICA in 2007 the centre was the first in South Africa to obtain a 1-grading. The centre also obtained an outstanding pass rate of 94% during the recent national qualifying exam.

“We especially want to focus on the training of students from the central region. This means that the UFS will become a feeder institution of black chartered accountants for the business community in the central region of the country,” says Prof. Van Wyk.

According to Prof. Van Wyk, SAICA will do the recruitment of the students and they will be subject to a selection test. A list of possible students will be submitted to the centre, of which 50 will be chosen. One of the prerequisites is that learners must have a good mark in Mathematics. During their four years of studying students must have an average pass mark of 70%.


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  
9 October 2008

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