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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

UFS appoints a Dean of Education
2009-11-06

 Prof. Dennis Francis,   Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State (UFS).


Prof. Dennis Francis from the University of KwaZulu-Natal has been appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State (UFS) as from 4 January 2010. He is the first dean of this faculty since it was established at the UFS earlier this year.

Prof. Francis has worked at the University of KwaZulu-Natal since 2002. Prior to his appointment at the UFS he was a Professor in the Faculty of Education and Head of the School of Social Science Education at that institution.

“I am overwhelmed and excited at the same time. Mostly, I feel privileged and honoured to be joining the Faculty of Education,” he said of his appointment.
“The Faculty of Education is newly constituted and there are endless possibilities and potential. So I am really excited to be here.”

“What attracted me to the UFS is the leadership and vision of Prof. Jonathan Jansen, the emergent energy that is here, and the possibilities for transformation and change that exist. But also the warmth and graciousness of the people that I have interacted with,” he said.

Prof. Francis has taught and supervised Master’s and Doctoral students in the area of social justice education, identity studies and sexuality education. He has published numerous articles in refereed national and international journals, chapters in edited collections, and four edited journal special issues. He is also the author of Between Race; Beyond Race. Prof. Francis is the current guest editor of the South African Journal of Higher Education Special Issue on Transformation and Social Cohesion in Higher Education.

He has delivered conference presentations in his fields of research at international conferences in India, USA, Brazil, Thailand, Greece, Malaysia, Mauritius, UK and South Africa, as well as a further fifteen papers at national conferences. At three of these conferences he was an invited speaker. In 2008 he was granted researcher status by the National Research Fund.

Prof. Francis is currently on the editorial boards of two journals and an advisor on two international education conference committees. He also serves as the Chairperson of the Kenton Education Association.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
5 November 2009
 

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