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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

Student Transformation Forum kicks off
2010-08-19

Ms Nida Jooste and Ms Modieyi Mothole
Photo: Lize du Plessis

The establishment of a Broad Student Transformation Forum (BSTF) at the University of the Free State (UFS) was initiated yesterday with a student consultative forum called to determine the agenda and delegations to the BSTF.

The establishment of the BSTF follows the suspension of the functioning of the Student Representative Council (SRC) recently and aims to provide students broadly with the opportunity to reach consensus regarding student governance at the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The meeting was chaired by student affairs specialist Prof. Cecil Bodibe and was attended by representatives from student associations from all faculties, representatives of non-faculty student associations and representatives from residences. Commuter students were represented through private student associations.

“The meeting clearly expressed agreement that decisions taken by the BSTF should ensure that the student body and student-life programmes truly reflect our constitutional commitment to building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society, and that collaboration between students and management in affecting the decisions of the BSTF to achieve this should be prioritised,” Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, said.

The forum agreed that apart from addressing specific questions pertaining to student governance, the BSTF should also address transformation issues broadly. The forum also agreed that the delegations to the BSTF should ensure that the forum is truly representative of the diverse student population and is inclusive of all stakeholder groups, including international students and students with disability. A proper process to determine the credentials of participating association was requested and will be implemented.

The meeting furthermore expressed the wish that the BSTF should exist only to determine the key changes that should be made to student governance now, so that the postponed SRC elections may continue as soon as possible. The BSTF will thus have a temporary role to enable the student body to reach consensus regarding changes to the SRC constitution.

Meanwhile, an Interim Student Committee (ISC) was appointed, which has the role to ensure the continuation of daily student life programmes and to ensure student representation in management and governance of the university continues during the deliberations of the BSTF. The ISC serves as an interim structure that will dissolve when a new SRC takes office following the outcome of the BSTF and the continuation of the SRC election.

The ISC consists of 15 members who were appointed through a process of nomination of four (4) members each from the faculty-student associations, non-faculty student associations and from residences, and three (3) members from the student executive committees of Kovsie Community Service, the Irawa student newspaper and the Kovsie Rag executive committee.

The ISC elected Ms Modieyi Mothole and Ms Nida Jooste as its chairperson and deputy-chairperson, respectively.
“I’m encouraged with the initiative and response of students to ensure student governance continues, which bears witness to the depth of leadership our student body holds, while the level of engagement by students in the BSTF indicates that the student body seriously consider issues of transformation,” said Mr Buys.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg.)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
19 August 2010
 

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