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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

Diversity gains ground in SRC election
2005-08-19

 

The University of the Free State (UFS) reached another milestone in its transformation process last night (Tuesday 16 August 2005) when a more diverse group of students than ever before were elected to serve on the Main Campus SRC.  

In addition to this, the UFS experienced a smooth and problem-free election process – unlike recent years when the Main Campus SRC elections were frequently disrupted or marred by attempts of intimidation or obstruction.

The election took place on Monday 15 August 2005 and the results were announced last night (Tuesday 16 August 2005) by Dr Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector:  Student Affairs at the UFS.

Seven black students are to serve on the Main Campus SRC, the highest number of black students ever to be elected on the Main Campus SRC since black students were admitted to the UFS in the late 1980’s. 

Nine of the 18 SRC members were directly elected and nine on the basis of proportional representation (PR).   The PR system was introduced after amendments to the constitution of the Main Campus SRC were approved by the UFS Council in June 2005. 

According to Dr Moraka the elections on the Main Campus were a resounding success.  “We received double the amount of votes this year: A total of 4 846 votes were cast, while 396 votes were spoilt.  Last year only 2 192 votes were cast,” said Dr Moraka.

Dr Moraka said that there were no disruptions of the process and no objections regarding the voting process were received.

Mr Graeme Bradley, thirdyear student in B Com Human Resource Management, was elected as SRC President of the Main Campus for 2005/2006.  Mr Bradley was SRC representative for Sports, Arts and Culture in 2004/2005.

In the PR section of the election, Here XVII (with 36,1% of  the vote) and Sasco (with 36% of the vote) received an equal amount of seats (3) for the SRC.  These percentages also provided them with fourteen (14) seats for the Student Parliament, which consists of 40 seats. 

“This outcome is significant to us as, for the first time we have a clear indication of what the actual support of these affiliated organisations is on campus,” said Dr Moraka.  


Media release

Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za

17 August 2005
 

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