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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

Kovsie Extravaganza
2011-09-14

 

Once again, Kovsies will showcase its most talented students at the Sand du Plessis Theatre in the annual Kovsie Extravaganza on 21st and 22nd September 2011. With guest artists, Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela and Die Heuwels Fantasties, it promises to be a first-class production. Expect music styles as diverse as hip-hop and pantsula dancers, a student string quartet, jazz band, various vocal groups and the winners of the campus serenade competition.

While it will certainly be a night to remember, this year will also benefit a cause you will find hard to forget. R25 of every ticket sold will go towards the No Student Hungry campaign (NSH), currently feeding just over a hundred Kovsie students on a daily basis. This means that the donation from each ticket bought will effectively buy one student food for one day.

Hunger on the Kovsie campus is an invisible problem that few ever consider, yet it affects an estimated 10% of the 31 000 students at Kovsies. ‘The problem with hunger at a learning institution is that it hampers talent. A hungry person can never achieve their full potential,’ says Grace Jansen, patroness of NSH.

To help alleviate this situation, you can buy a ticket for R75 at the PACOFS ticket office and join us on the 21st or 22nd September at the Sand du Plessis Theatre. Not only will it be a great night out, but you'll be doing your bit to invest in talent. Watch the press over the next two weeks for more information on this initiative.

If you'd like to know more about this topic or to schedule an interview with Cornelia Faasen, please contact her on 051 401 2819 or e-mail faasenc@ufs.ac.za.

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