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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

Council votes on appointment of senior staff
2004-11-18

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) today voted on the filling of three senior vacancies, including one post at Dean level and two at the level of Vice-Dean.

The Council voted as follows:

Dr Natie Luyt will be offered the post of Dean: Student Affairs Prof Engela Pretorius will be offered the post of Vice-Dean: Faculty of Humanities Dr Choice Makhetha will be offered the post of Vice-Dean: Student Affairs

“There are special challenges for the UFS in the short and medium term regarding transformation of our residences, and a certain combination of management qualities and skills is desirable. As a result of the diversity of the UFS’s student community it is therefore important to us to follow a team approach to deal with the challenges. With the combination of Drs Luyt and Makhetha, I believe we will be able to manage student affairs effectively and skillfully,” says Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“It is wonderful that we are able to celebrate the outcome of this process that has brought forward such excellent candidates who reflect our country’s diversity. It shows that we can achieve the goals of quality and diversity at the same time,” says Prof Fourie.

Prof Pretorius obtained all her qualifications (BA, BA (Hons) (cum laude), MA (cum laude) and D Phil) from the UFS, except for the Certificate in Gender Policy Management (cum laude) which she obtained in 2000 from WITS. She joined the Department of Sociology at UFS in 1980 and has headed the Department since 2001. She acted as Vice-Dean: Faculty of Humanities since July 2004. She has some thirty publications to her credit, published both nationally and internationally and has delivered 20 national and international papers. She is a member of the South African Sociological Association and is a member of the Council of the association and of the Editorial Board of Society in Transition, the society’s journal. She is also a member of the South African Academy for Science and Art and the Federation of African Women Educationalists in South Africa (FAWESA). Project involvement includes the Australian Women’s Executive Development Programme and the project Executive Development of Senior Women in South African Higher Education Institutions. She is also an NRF panelist.

Dr Luyt obtained his qualifications (BA, BA (Hons) (cum laude), MA (cum laude) and D Phil) at the UFS and started his career at the same institution in 1980 as lecturer in Political Science. He was promoted to senior lecturer in 1983 and appointed as Director: Student Affairs in 1997. He has been acting as Dean: Student Affairs since 2003. Dr Luyt completed several work-related training courses, among others a course in ethnic and multiculturality at the Swiss Institute for Federalism and a course in conflict management at the South Tyrolean Economic and Social Institute.

Dr Makheta also obtained all her qualifications (BA, BA (Hons), MA in Political Science and Ph D in Political Science) at the UFS and started working as a student assistant in Political Science at the same institution in 1999. She was promoted to junior assistant in 2000, coordinator and facilitator of Political Science in 2001, assistant/acting Director: Student Affairs in 2001 and acting Director: Student Affairs in 2003. Dr Makhetha is currently a Senior Political Analyst at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The UFS Council also approved the promotion of nine professors to the rank of senior professor. They are Proff Louise Cilliers (Department English and Classical Languages), Dap Louw (Department of Psychology), Philip Nel (Department Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice), Dirk van den Berg (Department of History of Art and Visual Culture Studies) Dingie van Rensburg (Director: Centre for Health Systems Research and Develoment), Andries Raath (Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law), James du Preez (Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology), Johan Grobbelaar (Department of Plant Sciences) and Louis Scott (Department of Plant Sciences).

This is the first group ever of senior professors at the UFS. The post level was created to provide better career and earnings opportunities for high quality academics and to increase the attractiveness of an academic career to young people.

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

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