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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

Law students rated among the top in the world
2007-04-18

The UFS team that competed in the moot arbitration competition in Austria was, front from the left: Sunette Visser and Dee Leboela; back from left: Lucian Companie, Vicky Olivier and Deman Smit.
UFS Law students rated among the top in the world
A team of eight students from the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) has put the university among the top universities in the world when it was ranked 46th out of 177 universities that recently took part in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition in Vienna, Austria.

Universities from more than 55 countries took part in the competition and 1 800 arguments were delivered over a period of seven days. The UFS team competed against countries such as Switzerland, Russia, Lapland and France.

The team did exceptionally well in all the arguments and was complimented on oral performance and litigation skills. “In the final round, one of the arbitrators, who is a practising international trade lawyer and arbitrator, said that the team’s oral arguments were of exactly the same standard as that of practising international trade lawyers in real arbitrations,” said Prof. Elizabeth Snyman-Van Deventer, coach of the team and lecturer at the Department of Mercantile Law.

To put the cherry on top, one of the team members, Deman Smit, received an individual oralist award and an honourable mention as one of the best speakers. His score of 138 out of 150 placed him within three (3) points of the international individual winner.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. Johan Henning said: “The fact that Deman missed out on receiving the top speaker award by a couple of points is a striking example of the world class students this faculty is delivering. It also shows that the faculty needs not to stand back for law faculties such as those of Harvard, Freiburg, Munchen, Stanford and Sorbonne.”

The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is an annual competition organised by the Institute of International Commercial Law at the Pace University School of Law in New York, United States of America. The goal of the competition is to foster the study of international commercial law and to train students in methods of alternative dispute resolution.

“The Faculty of Law also sees this competition as part of our development strategy to develop skilled arbitrators for commercial disputes. There is a need in Africa for commercial lawyers to facilitate international trade. This programme is also in line with the development strategies of the African Union,” said Prof. Snyman-Van Deventer.

The UFS team comprised of: Dee Leboela, Smit, Lucien Companie, Vicky Olivier, Sunette Visser, Qaqamba Vellem, Hanno Bekker and Lucy Nthotso.

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za 
18 April 2007
 

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