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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

New SRC constitution for UFS main campus agreed upon by all organisations
2005-07-20

University of the Free State Fact Sheet

1. The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) unanimously approved an amendment to the SRC constitution for the main campus to allow for the introduction of proportional representation (PR) alongside a first-past-the-post electoral system.

2. This decision was taken by the UFS Council on 10 June 2005 at the same meeting where it also approved the establishment of a Central SRC for the three campuses of the UFS.

3. The new main campus SRC constitution is the result of consensus reached during a lengthy negotiation process involving diverse student formations such as Sasco, the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League, the ACDP, HEREXVII, KovsieAlliance, as well as the democratically elected SRC members of the main campus. Independent persons such as Mr Jack Klaas and Mr Kobus van Loggerenberg facilitated the negotiation process.

4. The consensus reached during this process, and the subsequent decision by Council, represent a major breakthrough for student governance and transformation of the UFS main campus and constitutes a legitimate basis for the democratic participation of all students at the UFS main campus in the governance of the university.

5. The introduction of the proportional representation system follows earlier calls by some student formations, notably Sasco and the ANC Youth League, for such a system to be introduced at the UFS main campus in Bloemfontein.

6. In terms of the amendments to the main campus SRC constitution, nine of the 18 SRC members are to elected by means of proportional representation and nine on the basis of an direct, first-past-the-post election.

7. The following portfolios of the main campus SRC will be contested by individual candidates on the basis of “first past the post”:
• president
• secretary
• academic affairs
• legal and constitutional affairs
• student development
• arts and culture
• men’s internal liaison
• ladies internal liaison
• media, marketing and liaison

8. The following nine portfolios will be contested by affiliated organizations on a proportional representation basis.
• two vice-presidents
• treasurer
• dialogue and associations
• transformation
• campus affairs and recreation
• sport
• international affairs
• community service

9. These two decisions regarding student governance represent a breakthrough in that, for the first time in many years, all SRC constitutional changes were processed and approved by the June meeting of the Council, well in time for the scheduled August SRC election; in addition, all relevant student organizations have been part of the process and all have accepted the outcome of the process.

20 July 2005
 

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