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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 football team promoted to ABC Motsepe League
2017-06-01

Description: UFS football team  Tags: UFS football team

The Kovsies were the best football team at the SAB
playoffs held in Sasolburg gaining access to the
ABC Motsepe League in 2017/2018.
Photo: Kyle Marais

It means a lot to the football loving community at University of the Free State (UFS) and gives them something to be proud of. This is according to Godfrey Tenoff, coach of the UFS Men’s Football Team, after his team’s recent promotion to the ABC Motsepe League.

The Kovsies were crowned SAB Provincial Champions, an amateur senior league, for a second consecutive year in 2016/2017, but gained access to the ABC Motsepe League by winning the SAB playoffs on 20 and 21 May 2017 in Sasolburg. Thabo (Number) Lesibe and Tenoff was also respectively named Player and Coach of the Tournament at the playoffs. The university has been promoted to the semi-professional ABC Motsepe league for the first time since 2008.

Flirting with success over past few years
Tenoff said UFS football can now be seen as “one that can make a significant contribution to championship culture of sport at the university”.

His troops had flirted with success over the past few years, but couldn’t always translate it into championships. They finished fourth in their SAB provincial league in 2013/2014, second in 2014/2015 and in 2015/2016 won the region, but lost in the SAB provincial playoffs.

Three reasons for outstanding season
Tenoff said there are three reasons for the team’s success and it went on a 22-game unbeaten streak, with 20 games won and two drawn.

They retained most players from the 2015/2016 season and many of them were recruited during that season. Local talent from high schools in Bloemfontein were also recruited and introduced earlier – in July 2016. Lastly, Tenoff said the players and technical team were resilient and objective in their planning.

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