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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

Badminton players bring national titles home
2009-10-27

 

Kovsie badminton players Chris Dednam, Wiaan Viljoen and Roelof Dednam.
 

Badminton players of the University of the Free State again won national titles at the recently completed South African senior badminton championships in Stellenbosch. Where Chris Dednam won a hat trick last year, he had to relinquish two of his titles, fortunately to his team mates, this year.

Annari Viljoen and Chris Dednam retained their mixed doubles title by beating the favourites and first-seeded pair from the Western Province, Dorian James and Michelle Edwards, in the finals with 18-21, 21-19 & 27-25. Annari and Michelle also won the women’s doubles title. They easily (21-13 & 21-12) beat the unseeded pair Lydia and Debbi Godfrey (WP) in the finals.

Wiaan Viljoen teamed up with Dorian James (WP) as the second-seeded pair in the men’s doubles to surprise Chris and Roelof Dednam (first seeded) in the finals with 21-18 & 21-16. Wiaan (first seeded), as well as Chris Dednam (fifth seeded), could not reach the finals in the men’s singles, which left it to their old Kovsie team mate Roelof Dednam to bring the title back to the Free State. Roelof (second seeded) beat the national junior champion and fourth-seeded Jacob Maliekal (Border) with 19-21, 21-13 & 26-24 in the finals.

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