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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 claims gold and silver at IAAF World Championships in London
2017-08-11

 Description: Getty Wayde Tags: Wayde van Niekerk, IAAF World Championships, Michael Johnson, Prof Francis Petersen, 200 m/400 m double 

The Olympic champion, Wayde van Niekerk, continued
his superb form over the past few months when he
won a gold medal in the 400 m and a silver in the 200 m
at the IAAF World Championships in London.
Photo: Getty Images



This is just the beginning. These were the words of an emotional Wayde van Niekerk after he completed one of the best weeks in his young career at the IAAF World Championships.

The 25-year-old Kovsie star claimed a gold medal in the 400 m in London, England, on 8 August 2017, and added a silver in the 200 m on 10 August 2017.
 
Furthermore, he was only 0.02 seconds away (in the 200 m) from achieving a 200 m/400 m double – something which was last done in 1995 at a World Championship by Michael Johnson. Van Niekerk won the 400 m in London in 43.98 s, and two days later his 20.106 s was enough for a silver in the 200 m. Ramil Guliyev from Turkey was first in 20.09 s.

Role model for Kovsie community
Once again Van Niekerk’s achievements warmed the hearts back home at the University of the Free State (UFS). “This is an extremely proud moment not only for the country, but in particular for the University of the Free State. Wayde is a role model for the entire Kovsie community, and we have been following his achievements in the international arena with great excitement. We are elated by his performances. Congratulations also to Tannie Ans and his management team,” Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said. 

So much more ahead, says star
“I really feel I worked hard for tonight and I gave it my all. And I think I have proven over and over again I deserve what I have achieved. It was a tough week for me,” Van Niekerk said in an interview with the BBC. “I am glad that I could come out again today and put on a good fight. I really believe this is just the beginning of so much more I can achieve.”

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