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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

Kovsie-Alumni Trust provides financial support to gifted young persons
2009-07-08

 
Kovsie-Alumni Trust of the University of the Free State (UFS) provides financial support to gifted young persons. This year, the Trust has already granted R24 000 to students with disabilities and R28 500 to ad hoc applications for financial support. Amongst others, financial support of R224 888 was given to students from the Alumni Donation Funds. The contributions of generous donators to the Trust Fund are used to award academic, cultural and sport bursaries to deserving prospective as well as current Kovsie students. Here are, from the left: PK Nkate, a blind honours student in Business Management, who received R6 000 from the Trust, Ralph de Kramer, who received R3 500 for his ad hoc application; back: Adv Seef Hefer, Chairperson of the Trust, Ms Francis Hoexter, member of the Trust, Leendert Kramer, who received R60000 for his ad hoc application and Mr Ryno Opperman, member of the Trust. Other bursaries were awarded to Eleanor Bernard and Nandi Venter, Master’s students from the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, French and German, who each received half of the NNP bursaries with the total value of R20 000 and Magteld Smith, a blind Ph.D. student in BA to whom the Sapcor Bursary was awarded. Carien Gordon, Geoff Bezuidenhout and Ilana van der Merwe received R6 000, R3 500 and R3 500 respectively, according to their ad hoc applications.
Photo: Dries Myburgh

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