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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. 


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Kovsie's netball players triumph
2009-07-24

 
The Free State U-19 team that won the 2009 SA’s tournament that was held in Mafikeng.
 
 In action are Danique du Toit (left) and Mioné Steinman of the Free State U-19 team against the Western Province. They also won the 2009 SA’s tournament that was held in Mafikeng.
Photos: Markus Steinman
The University of the Free State’s (UFS) first netball team brought the silver medal home this year after they ended second in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Tournament that was held in Johannesburg. According to Ms Burta de Kock from KovsieSport at the UFS and coach of the team, the team suffered somewhat due to injuries and the fact that eight of their players were newcomers.

In spite of these challenges, six of the UFS players were included in the USSA team. They are Carine Terblanche, Shirolene Smith, Lienke Perold, Anuschka Greeff, Karla Mostert and Anja Zandberg. Karin Venter, also from KovsieSport at the UFS, was appointed as coach of the SA Universities Team.

Kovsie’s netball players also recently played for the Free State U-19 team in a tournament in Mafikeng. The entire team consisted of Kovsies. They won the gold medal by winning all their matches against other regions and provinces. Four of the Kovsie players were also included in the South African U-19 group. They are Karla Mostert, Mione Steinman, Cleopatra Kgoputso and Anuschka Greeff. Anuschka was named as the best goal shooter during the tournament.

The entire Free State U-21 team, which brought home the silver medal after they had lost to Gauteng in the final match, also consisted of Kovsie netball players. Six of these players were included in the South African U-21 team. They are Anja Opperman, Anja Zandberg, Poppie Thethele, Rika Stevenson, Nadia Nieuwoudt and Iselma Parkin. Iselma Parkin was also named the best defender of the tournament and Poppie Thethele the best centre player.

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