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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

Moot Court competition bigger success than ever before
2009-10-27

 

Here are the members of the winning team in the Afrikaanse section: André Stander and Wilmie Stander.
Photo: Stephen Collett
 

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Law of Procedure and Law of Evidence again presented the First-year Moot Court Competition this year. This interuniversity competition was presented for the fifth time this year. The Universities of the Free State, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Rhodes, North-West, Zululand and KwaZulu-Natal (both campuses), as well as an international institution, the Charlotte Law School in North Carolina in the USA also participated in the competition.

The last-mentioned participant was indeed a highlight for the Department of Law of Procedure and Law of Evidence. The students of the Charlotte School also initiated a community service project for a school in a disadvantaged community. According to Adv. Mariëtte Reyneke from the Department of Law of Procedure and Law of Evidence, the students of the UFS’s Faculty of Law will also participate in this project. The team’s participation is a result of negotiations to work together between Prof. Neels Swanepoel, departmental head, and the Charlotte School of Law early in 2009 as part of the university’s internationalisation priority.

“We are really excited about the growth of the competition that started out with three universities to where it is today. We believe that it is a cause for celebration,” said Adv. Reyneke.

Only first-year students may participate. The competition will take place in the High Court and the final rounds in the Court of Appeal. The judges are compiled from retired judges, practising judiciary, magistrates as well as retired lectures of law. Only a small number of law practitioners get the opportunity to appear in the Court of Appeal and to do this in your first year in front of a judge is an excellent exposure and career forming. This is also the only competition in the country where students can participate in either an English competition or an Afrikaans competition.

Sixteen English teams (9 universities) and 7 Afrikaans teams participated in this year’s competition.

At the prize giving function the UFS team was crowned overall winners of the Afrikaans section and a team from the University of Pretoria as overall winners of the English section of the competition.

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