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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

Interpreting implemented at UFS residences
2007-10-12

The University of the Free State (UFS) has begun to implement interpreting services at student residence meetings on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein, as part of the management of diversity and the racial integration of its residences.

As a pilot project, the interpreting services are being offered since the third term at Emily Hobhouse and Roosmaryn ladies residences, where a significant racial diversity already is present. From next year this service will be extended to all the student residences on the Main Campus.

The interpreting project is being managed by the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice at the UFS.

“Students in training at the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice and senior interpreters from the UFS are currently interpreting during residence meetings,” said Prof. Jackie Naudé, Departmental Chairperson of the UFS’s Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice.

“Students in these residences are given the opportunity to be trained to interpret during their residence meetings. Four students from each hostel are being trained as interpreters,” said Prof. Naudé.

According to Prof. Naudé both residences have meetings that take place on a Monday evening at 22:00. Interpreting is also provided at the first-year students’ meetings at Emily Hobhouse on Tuesday evenings.

The interpreters experience the interpreting at the residences as positively and they experience that students often do utilise this service. At Roosmaryn 16-18 students are utilising the interpreting service, while at Emily Hobhouse approximately 18 students are utilising the service.

“The interpreting service definitely contributes to the enhancement of communication during residence meetings. Students can exactly follow what is happening during the meetings. In the past a residences like Emily Hobhouse tried to repeat everything in English, which extended the meetings,” Prof. Naudé said.

With the envisaged extension of interpreting services in hostel meetings to all the hostels on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein, there is a need for interpreters as these meetings will take place simultaneously. Through this initiative, exiting new opportunities are created for aspiring interpreters. The training takes place under leadership of Prof. Annelie Lotriet who holds the ATKV Chair in Interpreting in the department.

Aspiring candidates can contact Mr Cobus Snyman, Manager of the UFS’s interpreting projects at 051 401 9005 in connection with the selection criteria for interpreters.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
14 October 2007
 

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