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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: Kovsie players rule
2005-07-07

Kovsie players again rule, as in the past three years, the SASSU badminton tournament currently being played at the University of Cape Town.

In the individual championships Chris Dednam gained a hat-trick by winning the men's singles title, the doubles title with Roelof Dednam and the mixed doubles title with Liansa Coetzee.

Roelof also won the silver medal in singles and bronze with Elaine Lues in the mixed doubles.  Even the bronze medal in men's singles was won by another Kovsie, Raymond Ronne, who also won silver in the doubles and bronze in the mixed doubles with Sonè Strauss.

Liansa and Sonè took the silver medal in the women's doubles after a long three-setter final which could have gone their way.  They both also went to the semi-finals of the singles where they were closely beaten.  Elaine Lues and Liezl van Rensburg made it to the quarter-finals of the doubles.

In the annual team competition Kovsies are well on their way to a third consecutive trophy.
 

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