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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

Wayde sets 200m SA record, and is world’s fastest in 2017
2017-06-13

 

Description: Wayde sets 200m SA record, banner Tags: Wayde sets 200m SA record, banner

Wayde van Niekerk is in great form leading up to the World Championships
in London in August. Photo: SASPA

 

He was the first South African to break the 20-second barrier in the 200m, but for the past two years Wayde van Niekerk had to be satisfied that fellow countryman Anaso Jobodwana was quicker. Now the Kovsie athlete isn’t only the national record holder again – he also is the fastest man on the planet in the 200m in 2017.

After Van Niekerk ran a 19.90, the world’s fastest this year, when he won the South African title in Potchefstroom in April, the American Christian Coleman (19.85) improved on that.

Personal best and 0.06 seconds quicker than Anaso
However, Van Niekerk ran a 19.84 in the 200m at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica, on 11 June 2017. This was 0.06 seconds quicker than his personal best, and 0.03 seconds better than Jobodwana’s national record of 19.87 at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. Van Niekerk was the first South African to run under 20 seconds in the 200m when he did so two years ago in 19.97 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Same pace a second time in a week

It was also the second time in a week that the 400m world record-holder ran an 19.84 in the 200m. This after he did it on a temporary built track at the Boost Boston Games on 4 June 2017. The race was run on a straight street course and was therefore not officially recognised as a record.

“This is definitely a positive step forward,” Van Niekerk said, according to www.iaaf.org. “I felt that I was in pretty good shape last week in Boston, I wanted to repeat that here (in Kingston).”

He seems to be in good shape leading up to his attempt to run a double, his favourite 400m and the 200m, at the World Championships in London, England, in August.


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