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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

Kovsies bring home four medals
2011-08-22

 

Bruno Schwalbach and Balungile Ngofe

As part of the Protea Karate Team, two Kovsies represented South Africa at the Senior Commonwealth Karate Championships that took place in Sydney, Australia in July 2011.

Bruno Schwalbach achieved a three-medal haul, winning a silver medal in the Senior Kata, a bronze in die Senior o.67 kg Kumite and a bronze in the Senior Team Kumite. Balungile Ngofe achieved a prestigious fifth place in the Senior u.60 kg Kumite and a bronze medal in the Team Kumite.

Both Kovsies earned a place in the prestigious five-man Team Event, where the top-five fighters from each country competed head to head against other countries in what comprises the tournament's main event. South Africa narrowly lost the semifinal to Australia (the gold medallists), but still received a bronze medal.

These are excellent results at such prestigious karate championships, where most top achievers are world-cup medallists. Bruno Schwalbach was also selected to be part of the karateka South African Protea Karate Team that will represent South Africa at the All Africa Games in Maputo from 30 August 2011 to 23 September 2011. In October this year, Bruno will also represent South Africa as part of the National u.21 Protea Team, which will compete in the WKF World Karate Championships in Melaka, Malaysia.

 

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