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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 athletes set the world alight
2009-08-05

Kovsie athletes Johan Cronjé, Thuso Mpuang and Kagisho Kumbane recently left for Berlin to participate in the World Senior Athletics Championships that will take place from 15-23 August 2009. It is an extraordinary achievement for the University of the Free State (UFS) that three of its athletes were included in the South African senior group that will participate in the world athletics championships in Berlin.

Johan will participate in the 1 500 m. Thuso, who earlier this year won a bronze medal in the 200 m at the World Student Games that were held in Belgrade, Serbia with a time of 20,69 seconds, will again participate in the 200 m at the championships in Berlin. Together with Kagisho he is also included in the South African relay team that will participate in the 4 x 100 m relay at these championships. Both Thuso and Kagisho were included in the South African team that ended third in the 4 x 100 m relay in Belgrade.

Kagisho also participated in the World Student Games in Belgrade, Serbia and progressed to the third round in the 100 m. Boy Soke, also a Kovsie athlete, ended in ninth place in the 5 000 m finals in Belgrade.

Windy Jonas, also from Kovsies, has left for Mauritius where he will participate in the Africa Junior Championships that will take place from 30 July to 3 August.

 
 Boy Soke Windy Jonas   Johan Cronjé
  
 Thuso Mpuang   Kagisho Kumbane 

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