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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 Council elects a new Chairperson
2009-11-22

Judge Ian van der Merwe

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) elected Judge Ian van der Merwe as its new Chairperson at its last meeting for this year on Friday, 20 November 2009.

Judge Van der Merwe is an alumnus of the UFS and has been a member of the Council since 9 March 2007. In accepting his appointment, Judge Van der Merwe said that he was honoured and humbled to lead a Council of this calibre. “I will always do what is in the best interest of the UFS and, together with the Council, I will work towards making it an autonomous institution of academic excellence that is non-racial, non-sexist, and where diversity is cherished,” he said.

The election of a new Chairperson and the term of the Chancellor were among the matters discussed during yesterday’s meeting.

Dr Franklin Sonn will retire as Chancellor on 31 December 2009 and the term of office of the current Chairperson of Council, Judge Faan Hancke, will also expire on 31 December 2009. Dr Sonn has been Chancellor since 7 February 2003 and Judge Hancke has been Chairperson of the Council since 1 June 2001.

“I am elated that someone of Judge Van der Merwe’s stature has been elected as Chairperson and will provide him with my full support,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

The Council paid tribute to Judge Hancke for the time he dedicated to the UFS, as well as for his leadership, guidance and wisdom to take the institution to where it stands in the current phase of its history. The Council also recognised Judge Hancke for, amongst others, his decision to appoint Prof. Jansen as the first black Rector and Vice-Chancellor, for his role in the implementation of the Transformation Plan and the policy to increase diversity in residences at the UFS, as well as his contribution to the growth of black students.

Judge Hancke thanked the Council for their support and assistance during his term and congratulated Judge van der Merwe on his appointment. “I wish Prof. Jansen and his management team well and hope that they will have the wisdom to solve the problems the institution is facing so that they can focus on the core business of the UFS namely its academia. I know the University can make a tremendous contribution to the country,” he said.

The Council also welcomed the following new members who were present at the meeting: Mr Pule Makgoe, MEC for Education in the Free State; Mr Ndaba Ntsele, Chief Executive Officer of the Pamodzi Group and Mr Willem Louw, Managing Director of Sasol Technology.

The new Chancellor will be elected as soon as the proposed statute is approved by the Council in 2010 and published in the Government Gazette. Prof. Jansen will act as Chancellor for the interim period from 1 January 2010.

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  
21 November 2009
 

 

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