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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

'Physical education at school level important,' says Minister
2010-09-16

At the conference were, from the left: Monique de Milander, Prof. Johan Bloemhoff, Rev. Makhenkesi Stofile, Emile Langeveld and Riaan Schoeman.

A record number of four staff members from the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) presented papers at the South African Sport and Recreation Conference (SASreCon). This conference was presented by Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) from the National Department of Sport and Recreation. This is South Africa’s primary national conference on sport and exercise science.

The conference, that was hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban with the theme Sport, Recreation and Physical Education – An Essential Triad, highlighted the important triangular relationship between sports science, recreation and physical education. A host of leading South African and international speakers presented papers on key topics that are relevant to the South African sports and exercise landscape.

The four staff members who attended also had the opportunity to meet the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Rev. Makhenkesi Stofile. The Minister reiterated the importance of physical education at school level to ensure that South Africa can compete against the best in the world at stadiums such as the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium, where the function was hosted.
 

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