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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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Kovsies excell in Free State Senior Open Badminton Championships
2009-09-14

Wiaan Viljoen, a student at the University of the Free State (UFS) won this year’s men’s singles at the Free State Senior Open Badminton Championships that took place in Bloemfontein the last weekend.

According to Ms Janine de Kock from KovsieSport at the UFS, Kovsie players Chris Dednam, Wiaan Viljoen and Annari Viljoen played a good game when they participated together with other top Protea players of South Africa and Botswana in the different divisions.

Wiaan beat Roelof Dednam (FS) 21/11 en 21/6 in the finals. In the men’s doubles final Wian again triumphed when he, together with Dorian James (WP), beat the Dednam brothers 17/21, 21/18 and 21/19.

In the women’s doubles final Annari Viljoen and Michelle Edwards (WP) defeated Charne du Preez (NG) and Stacey Doubell 21/12 and 21/10.

In the mixed doubles final Chris Dednam and Anneri Viljoen lost against Dorian James and Michelle Edwards.

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