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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. 


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International legal jurisprudent talks at the UFS
2009-09-01

 
The Department of Roman Law, History of Law and Comparative Law recently hosted Prof. Harry Rajak as part of the Iurisprudentia 100 celebrations of the Faculty of Law of the University of the Free State (UFS). Prof. Rajak, Emeritus Professor and Dean in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, delivered a public lecture as visiting professor on the subject: A virile living system of law: An exploration of the South African legal system. Prof. Rajak delivered a very extensive lecture about the sources, nature, resilience and uniqueness of South African law. Amongst others, he convincingly pointed out that, for quite some time already, the common law of South Africa can no longer simply be equated to the Roman Dutch Law of the 17th and 18th century. South African law has been influenced by other law systems, amongst others, the English law, and developed by the judicature to such an extent that it is more correct to describe it as South African Common Law. Here are Prof. Rajak (left) and Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS, in conversation.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

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