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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

Access meets quality in UFS-Varsity College partnership for law degree
2012-07-30

 
At the event were, from the left: Mr Frank Thompson, CEO of ADvTECH, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, and Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS.
Photo: Johan Roux
30 July 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) and Varsity College this week officially launched a partnership whereby the university’s Faculty of Law will offer a four-year Bachelor of Law qualification through the UFS School of Open Learning on eight Varsity College campuses nationwide. This new degree will be offered as early as 2013.

This is the fulfilment of a dream, said Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the university. He was one of the speakers at the event that was attended by staff members and management from the, Faculty of Law, the university’s South Campus, Varsity College and ADvTECH.

The UFS Faculty of Law is one of the oldest and most distinguished faculties of law in South Africa, and has a close association with several overseas universities which ensures that the institution is internationally recognised.

“I am very positive and enthusiastic about this new partnership. We want to make this an enriching experience for staff and students from both the university as well as Varsity College,” Prof. Henning said.

The CEO of ADvTECH, Mr Frank Thompson, said he is overjoyed about the project and its potential. Varsity College is a brand of the ADvTECH Group, a JSE listed company invested in human capital.

“This is a new beginning for Varsity College and the UFS. Learning together, the slogan for this project, is very appropriate. We are excited to add new students to the university and Varsity College’s line-up,” Mr Thompson said.

Varsity College is part of the Independent Institute of Education (IIE), the leading provider of private higher education in South Africa. According to Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of the IIE, the partnership between the IIE and the university is an example of the potential that is inherent in public-private partnerships to increase the range of high quality options available to students.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, who also was one of the speakers at this event, said with this partnership, students will get the best of both worlds in accessing higher education.

The Faculty of Law will ensure that students obtain both a thorough grounding in legal theory, as well as a solid practical foundation, and Varsity College, through a strong commitment to innovative teaching and learning, will empower more students to become legal graduates of the highest calibre. Thus, the innovative partnership between the UFS and Varsity College will produce a Bachelor of Law degree that is highly sought after in the legal profession.

This partnership is the first of its kind, paving the way for increased collaboration between public and private tertiary institutions to best serve the education sector and the future of graduates.

“This is what is possible when two dynamic partners like the university and Varsity College come together,” Prof. Jansen said.
 

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