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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 informs judicial officers about human trafficking
2010-08-11

At the conference on human trafficking for judicial officers were, from the left: Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS; Mr Ace Magashule, Premier of the Free State; Chief Justice, Justice S Nqcobo; Mr Andries Nel, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development; and Judge Faan Hancke, acting Judge President of the Free State.

Photo: Stephen Collett

The Faculty of Law’s Centre for Judicial Excellence at the University of the Free State (UFS) in cooperation with the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s Gender Directorate hosted a conference for judicial officers from the Magistrate’s Courts, the Regional Courts and the High Courts on “Human trafficking: Equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all”.

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Andries Nel delivered a keynote address at this event. He said that anti-human trafficking legislation would be passed in the near future. Also delivering a key note address at the conference was the Chief Justice, Justice Sandile Nqcobo.

The aim of the conference was to empower judicial officers on the topic of human trafficking. A number of presentations from amongst others Adv. Beatri Kruger from the UFS’s Unit for Children’s Rights served to inform magistrates and judges about the characteristics, causes, the human trafficking process and the consequences of human trafficking on victims. Delegates also discussed the impact of human trafficking on human rights and the comprehensive response to human trafficking with a clear focus on the victims’ rights during criminal proceedings.

This conference was attended by 100 judicial officers from across South Africa. 

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