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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 law students sit in on exceptional case in the Supreme Court of Appeal
2011-09-21

 

At the Supreme Court of Appeal were, from left to right: Dr Beatri Kruger, lecturer in our Department of Criminal and Medical Law at the Faculty of Law; Adv. Ann Skelton, Amicus Curiae instructed by the Restorative Justice Centre; Ms Matsepo Soko, post-graduate student in Criminal Law; and Prof. Annette van der Merwe from the University of Pretoria.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Fourth-year and master’s-degree students, from our Faculty of Law, had the privilege of attending the hearing of one of their prescribed cases in the module, Criminal Law, namely the State versus Tabethe, in the Supreme Court of Appeal. Apart from the fact that they could attend the hearing, the students were also addressed by experienced legal experts, Adv. Ann Skelton (amicus curiae, instructed by the Restorative Justice Centre) and Prof. Annette van der Merwe from the University of Pretoria, on the broad outlines of the case.

In this case, the accused was found guilty of raping his fifteen-year-old stepdaughter. The court imposed a sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, suspended in full, but with certain conditions. The conditions include 800 hours’ community service and stipulate that the accused has to follow a rehabilitation programme and that he has to give 80% of his income to the family in order to support the victim and her family.
 
This was the first rape case where, in following a restorative justice approach, exceptional conditions were imposed to address the interests of the victim who wants to proceed with her studies. The State appealed against the sentence.
 
Dr Beatri Kruger, lecturer in our Department of Criminal and Medical Law, who prescribed this case for the students, said, ‘The law students were indeed privileged to attend this auspicious and enriching occasion, which provided them with an insightful experience of how the law works in practice.’

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