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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

USSA cross country 2008
2008-10-16

The student cross country championships of 2008 took place on the 29 and 30 September 2008 at the University of Kwazulu Natal.

‘n Total of 109 athletes took part. The Kovsies men`s team was Boy Soke, Johan Cronje, Michael Tlhoro, Dirk Gouws, Ben Smit and Antonie Peens. The womens team was represented by Este de Jager, Abongile Lerotholi, Thandi Malindi, Rone Reynecke en Maryna Swanepoel.

The women’s team took the honours by winning the team competition in the 4km race. They finished as follows: De Jager 3rd, Lerotholi 5th, Malindi 6th, Reynecke 7th and Swanepoel 16th.

The men’s team also did well under circumstances – Our number 2 and 3 runners were injured and Antonie Peens, our number 5, was diagnosed with measles on the morning of the race. They finished 3rd in the men`s 4km race. However the men can kept their heads high. They finished as follow: Soke 2nd, Cronje 12th, Tlhoro 17th, Gouws 29th and Smit 39 th.

In the road relay race our womens team again did us proud by winning the race by a huge margin. Our team was Thandi Malindi, Abongile Lerotholi and Este de Jager.

The men`s team perform well under difficult circumstances by finishing 4th.  The team was Dirk Gouws, Johan Cronje, Michael Tlhoro en Boy Soke.

Este de Jager

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