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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 Dr Derek Swemmer as Registrar
2010-09-30

Dr Derek Swemmer

The University of the Free State (UFS) has appointed Dr Derek Swemmer, current Registrar of the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), as its Registrar.

Dr Swemmer, who is currently recognised as one of the most experienced, competent and outstanding registrars in South Africa, will join the UFS as from 1 October 2010. He was Registrar at WITS since 1995.

“I am enthusiastic at the thought of working at the UFS under its new leadership and in a time of change. This appointment creates the opportunity for me to assess the many existing practices of the UFS and to seek to enhance these based on my own experience at WITS,” he said.

Dr Swemmer started his academic career as a part-time student assistant at the University of Pretoria (UP) in 1974. He also taught at the Christ’s Hospital Public School in the United Kingdom and was a full-time lecturer in the Department of English at the University of South Africa (UNISA) until he joined WITS as Personal Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and Principal in 1985.

Dr Swemmer holds a D Litt et Phil in English from the University of South Africa. He received numerous awards including the South African Golden Key International Honours Society Chapter Adviser of the Year in 2006 and 2008, an extraordinary second Certificate of Honour by the International Education Association of South Africa and the Golden Key International Leadership Council President’s Award.

Dr Swemmer chaired, amongst others, the WITS Issues Management Group and the WITS Crisis Committee; and was an Honorary Treasurer of the International Education Association of South Africa and an Honorary Secretary of the English Academy of Southern Africa.

He authored, co-authored and co-edited a number of text books, journals and magazines. He also delivered a number of papers at national and international conferences.

Dr Swemmer will be taking up the position as the single registrar of the UFS.

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

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