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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 in second and third place at USSA Cross-Country Championships
2010-09-30

 In the Kovsie women’s cross-country team were, from the left: Thandi Malindi, Maryna Swanepoel and Lettie Dhlamini.
 
In the Kovsie men cross-country team, who participated in the recent USSA Cross-Country Championships in Port Elizabeth, are from the left: Ratlale Mokone, Khothatso Mokone, Boy Soke and Johan Cronjé.

The University of the Free State (UFS) entered both a men’s and a women’s team in the recent USSA Cross-Country Championships that took place at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

 

According to Ms Sarina Cronjé from KovieSport at the UFS, both teams did extremely well. Kovsies men came second in the men’s 4 km race as well as the 4x5 km road relay and our women finished third in the 8 km race.

 

Congratulations to Boy Soke (2nd), Johan Cronjé (3rd), Ratlale Kokone (7th) and Khothatso Mokone (14th) who came second in the team competition of the 4 km race with 26 penalty points against the 22 penalty points of the Pukke, who won the team competition. Our men’s B-team with Windy Jonas (17), Antonie Peens (20), Gerrit Viljoen (31) and Laurens van der Merwe (33) ended in sixth place in the 4 km team competition.

 

Our women finished third in the 8 km team competition with 31 penalty points. Thandi Malindi (9th), Maryna Swanepoel (10th) and Lettie Dhlamini (12th) were the team members.

 

“To each and every athlete a word of appreciation for the manner in which you ran, as well as the guts you have shown on a difficult course in very windy conditions,” said Ms Cronjé.

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