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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. 


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Centre for Financial Planning Law and INSETA making a difference
2014-07-16

The Centre for Financial Planning Law (CFPL) in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State and the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) has established a hugely-beneficial collaboration. Due to this partnership, students at CFPL has access to bursaries of R950 000. These bursaries are available to students studying towards a undergraduate BIuris degree, a postgraduate diploma in Financial Planning, or an advanced postgraduate diploma in Financial Planning.

The CFPL handles the recruitment and selection process for the bursary fund, which will cover up to R68 040.95 for tuition, accommodation and book fees. In addition, the bursaries also cover other fees such as equipment and registration.

According to Shirly Hyland, Director of the Centre for Financial Planning Law, the centre recognises the financial strain some students undergo. The bursaries will therefor enable many of these students – who considered discontinuing their studies because of financial constraints – to continue studying, making a tremendous difference in their lives.

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