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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

Excellent facilities, pleasant weather and hospitality attract international teams
2012-03-14

 

Germany and South Africa played friendly practice matches at the UFS during their training camps.
Photo: Johan Roux
14 March 2012

Three international hockey teams have used the practice facilities of the university since the beginning of the year to prepare for the Olympic Games in August this year. The German and South African hockey teams have practiced here on four previous occasions.

Due to the cold weather in Europe, Austria also held its hockey training camp at the university this year. In addition, four of Austria’s triathlon athletes used the cross country track and swimming pool on the Bloemfontein Campus to prepare for the Olympic Games.

Germany’s national hockey team practised at the university from 3 to 12 March 2012. South Africa made use of the facilities from 5 to 10 March and Austria’s national team has been practicing in Bloemfontein since 24 February. From 3 to 10 March, a club team from Austria also made use of the university’s facilities, including the astros, the swimming pool, the athletics track and the Biokinetics Centre. SV Arminem also played two matches against the men’s hockey team from Kovsies. The first match end 2-2. With the second match Kovsies won 4-1.

Other international hockey teams who have made use of the astros over the past six years include Russia, Argentina, Belgium, China, Azerbaidjan and the Netherlands.

Staff ensured that everything ran like clockwork during the different training camps. Ms Annemarie Ludick and Mr Frans van der Watt, under the guidance of Mr Mickey Gordon, Head: Institutional Promotion, Fundraising, Marketing and Sport, were responsible for the logistical arrangements and finances. Mr Johan Gerber saw to the maintenance of the astros. The university boasts some of the best equipped astros in the world. “Germany, for example, did not bring along any exercise balls, cones, or beds (for use by physiotherapists) because the astros are fully equipped,” said Ms Ludick.

The fact that international teams such as Germany (ranked second in the world), South Africa and Austria made use of the university’s facilities is significant. “The university’s first team got for example the opportunity to play practice games against these players. The training camps also contributed to the economy of Bloemfontein,” said Ms Ludick.

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