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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

UFS Council adopts guidelines for the development of a new Language Policy
2015-12-04

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) adopted the following guidelines from the report by the Language Committee regarding the development of a new Language Policy for the UFS, based on the core values of inclusivity and multilingualism:

  1. that English becomes the primary medium of instruction in undergraduate education and, as largely exists already, in postgraduate education.
  2. that the UFS embeds and enables a language-rich environment committed to multilingualism, with particular attention to Afrikaans, Sesotho, isiZulu, and other languages represented on the three campuses.
  3. that an expanded tutorial system be available to especially first-year students in Afrikaans, Sesotho, isiZulu and other languages, in order to facilitate the transition to English instruction.
  4. that the parallel-medium policy continues in particular professional programmes, given the well-defined Afrikaans markets that, at the moment, still makes such language-specific graduate preparation relevant.
  5. that the language of administration be English.
  6. that the English-medium language policy be implemented with flexibility and understanding, rather than as a rigid rule disregarding the circumstances.

These guidelines were adopted at the Council meeting which took place on the Bloemfontein Campus on Friday 4 December 2015.

“This important and emotive matter was discussed in a high-quality, open debate and I am satisfied with the way the decision was reached,” says Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the UFS Council.

The decision by Council comes after a mandate was given to the University Management on 4 June 2015 to conduct a review of the institutional Language Policy. A Language Committee was subsequently established by the University Management Committee (UMC) to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing parallel-medium policy and to make recommendations on the way forward with respect to the university's Language Policy.

The Language Committee conducted a comprehensive consultation process on the future of the Language Policy with all university stakeholders. This included multiple dialogue and submissions sessions, as well as an opinion poll on all three campuses.

Guided by the Council resolution of 4 December 2015, the UFS management will now proceed to design a Language Policy that would be presented to the UMC and Senate for voting purposes again, which vote would be formally presented to Council at one of its governance meetings in 2016. The Institutional Forum, a statutory body that represents all university stakeholders, would also advise Council at that stage, per its mandate, on the new Language Policy.

In the event that a new Language Policy is accepted by Council in 2016, the earliest possible date for implementation would be January 2017.


Related articles:

http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6567 (26 November 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6540 (28 October 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6521 (20 October 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6469 (30 August 2015)
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6444 (25 August 2015)

 

 

 

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