Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Education is the key to the unification of black and white masses of South Africa
2015-11-13


From left are Dr Victor Teise (Head of School of Higher Education), Dr Mafu Rakometsi (CEO of UMALUSI), and Prof Sechaba Mahlomaholo (Dean of Faculty of Education).
Photo: Valentino Ndaba

In view of the divisive nature South Africa’s (SA) schooling system during the pre-1994 period, education appears to be one of the most potent unifying mechanisms of the democratic dispensation. With the elimination of Bantu education and the subsequent gain of access to basic and higher education by the historically-disadvantaged of this country, the schooling system is said to be building and reconstructing bridges which were burnt by the apartheid administration.

This opinion was shared by Dr Mafu Rakometsi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UMALUSI – the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training. Dr Rakometsi, a University of the Free State alumnus, presented a guest lecture titled: “Educational transformation in South Africa – lessons for the future” on Thursday 5 November 2015 at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The discussion of salient matters regarding education and transformation was hosted by the Faculty of Education in collaboration with Institutional Advancement: Alumni.

According to Dr Rakometsi, the transformation of education in SA can be viewed in the same light as that of government; where the nationalist policy was succeeded by democracy. “Education promoted the agenda of ensuring that there was no integration of the South African population,” he said of the past.

“Simply put, in SA, the black person was denied, and deprived of, human rights,” he added. Nonetheless, the declaration of human rights as enshrined in our constitution, and the conviction held by lobby groups, such as the Black Sash, that the young should seek and receive education led to transformation within the education sector.

Although that transformation has been accomplished, poverty continues to hinder access to education. Approximately 80% of the black students in higher education are from poor families, meaning that their parents are unable to fund the completion of their studies. Financial exclusion then translates to social exclusion, which relegates these underprivileged students into narrow enclaves. This results in a counter-transformation situation as a consequence.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept