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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

Student Court is ready to exercise its legal power
2015-09-07

 

Student disputes at the University of the Free State (UFS) will be regulated henceforth by the Student Court that has been re-established at the Bloemfontein Campus. The Student Court will offer practical training to law students thus strengthening their theoretical knowledge to produce employable graduates.

The Student Court was launched on Friday 21 August 2015, cultivating a self-determined studentship and citizenship, of which South Africa can be proud.

Advocate Barry Roux, Oscar Pistorius’s defence attorney, Judge Lebotsang Bosielo, of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal, Profs Caroline Nicholson, Dean of the Faculty of Law, and Teuns Verschoor,  Chairperson of the UFS  Disciplinary Board, attended this auspicious event.

During his keynote address, Adv. Roux said the Student Court serves as a stepping-stone in the practice of integrity, respect, and preparedness within the law profession.

“Young professionals have a mandate to excel. No matter what, stick to honesty and the truth. If you want to be a role model and make your family proud, do more.” he advised.

Judge Lebotsang Bosielo urged students to use “the rare opportunity to practise and uphold the law with austerity.”

“You should broaden the knowledge of substantive law, law of evidence, procedural law, and the Constitution of South Africa. Opportunities such as the Student Court enable law students to strengthen the practice of theory beyond the parameters of the lecture rooms,” he emphasised.

The re-establishment of the Student Court was initiated by Lindokuhle Ntuli, Student Representative Council (SRC) member on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. The UFS Council approved the proposal for the court in 2006, but it had remained inactive since then. It was not until 2014 when Lindokuhle assumed office that the concept was revived.

“As an independent body, the Student Court is ready to exercise its legal powers with the aim of establishing a student community and a culture of student governance committed to justice, equality, and accountability,” he said.


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