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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

Dean of the Faculty of Law delivers farewell lecture
2013-12-04

Prof Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), delivered his farewell lecture during an event attended by distinguished guests from law circles in Bloemfontein, staff from the faculty, as well as family and friends.

The topic of his farewell lecture was: From leonine to universal partnerships. This theme was also the focus of his inaugural lecture and his later research. “It was a privilege to have been part of the development of universal partnership law,” Prof Henning said.

During the event, Prof Henning was honoured by colleagues, as well as members of the law profession, for his contribution to the academy. Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, thanked Prof Henning for his part in preparing a new generation of academics for the future.

Prof Elizabeth Snyman-Van Deventer from the Department of Mercantile Law, described Prof Henning as someone with an excellent knowledge of history, especially with regard to the Anglo-Boer War and the World Wars. “He is also one of only a few academics of which four postgraduate students became professors. He has lots of empathy with other people and, despite his long list of academic achievements, he is a very humble man. Two of his outstanding characteristics are his humanity and his modesty,” said Prof Snyman-Van Deventer.

Judge Faan Hancke, former chairperson of the UFS Council and Judge of the Supreme Court, said Prof Henning is a multi-faceted person. “He is an incredible academic who has published widely and is the author of several textbooks. He is also editor of a number of journals and serves on the editorial board of several publications. I have great admiration for his academic excellence and his absolute knowledge of partnership law. He is the best in South Africa and is also highly regarded internationally in this aspect of the law (he was, among others, director of the Centre for Comparative Partnership and Company Law at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies of the University of London). He is the ideal academic, who has achieved the highest rating in his specialist field of Mercantile Law in South Africa, namely a B1 received in 2012, and he is an excellent dean,” Judge Hancke said.

Prof Henning has a long association with the UFS. In 1968 he reported as a first-year student. Later, in 1974, he was appointed in the Department of Mercantile Law on a temporary basis. In 1998 he was appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Law. Some of the highlights in his career include his appointment as African representative of CIDOEC, Jesus College, Cambridge, and becoming the first South African being awarded an honorary fellowship to the Society of Advanced Legal Studies in Brittain, as well as the American Order of the Coif.

Prof Henning will continue his partnership with the university in 2014, acting as dean and continuing his research.

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