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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 Dean invited as keynote speaker at international conference
2011-03-23

Prof. Dennis Francis, Dean of Education

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Dean of Education, Prof. Dennis Francis, has received the honour of being invited as keynote speaker at the Fourth International Conference of Education Reform (ICER).

Prof. Francis, who has already published widely in the areas of social justice education and sexuality education, will address the conference on 24 and 25 March 2011 in Luang Prabang, Laos.
 
The theme of the conference is Equality and Education. Prof. Francis will address the international audience with his speech entitled “Troubling elements of a theory of oppression that should inform the work of teachers in higher education”.
                                                                 
Prof. Francis’ keynote will address three questions, namely what challenges South African society presents to the teaching of anti-oppression, what elements of theory and pedagogy are most effective in equipping teachers and students for those challenges and what real-life experiences of teaching in the area of education for social justice can teach about pedagogy in any context where injustice and inequality prevails. He will draw on his personal experiences regarding the latter. 
 
“We need to deepen the theoretical grasp of oppression if education is to be effective in addressing social inequality. Teaching for equity and social justice education requires that we address the multiple layers of oppression that correspond with varying forms of privilege and injustice, and none of these exist in isolation.” 
 
Prof. Dennis says that he is humbled by the invitation and sees this as an opportunity to learn, grow and contribute in the area of education in social justice.


Media Release
23 March 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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