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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 offers bursaries for interpreters
2005-12-01

The Unit for Language Management (previously Unit for Language Facilitation and Empowerment) at the University of the Free State (UFS) is offering bursaries to persons who want to apply for the Post-graduate Diploma in Language Practice (interpreting) for 2006. 

The Unit was involved in the setting up of a comprehensive interpreting infrastructure at the Free State Legislature and provided the interpreting services for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for the latter’s full duration.

“The UFS supports a multilingual society.  Our language policy, which was approved by the Council in 2003, is a striking example.  This policy is in accordance with the national movement towards multilingualism and the recognition of language rights.  Through the training of interpreters the UFS is empowering others to exercise their language rights and to partake meaningfully in formal conversations,“ said Prof Theo du Plessis, head of the UFS Unit for Language Management (ULM). 

“The UFS has been using interpreter services at executive management meetings and other occasions such as meetings, seminars and conferences for several years.  The demand for these services has risen quite considerably.  We have found that the current three interpreters on the Main Campus will soon not be able to cope with this demand,” said Prof du Plessis.

According to Prof du Plessis institutions like the Mangaung Local Municipality and the Motheo District Municipality use the interpreter services of the ULM on a regular basis. 
“Because the demand for interpreter services is becoming so great, the demand for trained interpreters is also increasing.  This is why we are offering bursaries for persons who want to be trained as interpreters to register in 2006 for the Post-graduate Diploma in Language Practice (interpreting) as offered by the UFS Department of Afro-asiatic Studies and Language Practice and Sign Language,” said Prof du Plessis.

According to Prof du Plessis the UFS will be able to use these students on an ad-hoc basis to assist with interpreter services on the Main Campus or to deliver interpreter services to institutions outside the UFS. 

The bursaries will preferably be awarded to persons with English as mother tongue with an above average knowledge of Afrikaans or Sesotho.  The duration of the bursaries is one year and only tuition fees will be paid.  “To qualify for the bursaries, prospective students must have an undergraduate qualification,” said Prof du Plessis.

The closing date for applications is 25 January 2006.  For any enquiries, Mrs Susan Lombaard can be contacted at (051) 401-2405 or 072 605 4966 during office hours or at lombasc.hum@mail.uovs.ac.za.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:  (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
1 December 2005
 

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