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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 student nominated for 2012 national music award
2012-09-08

Sibongile Potelwa
Photo: Supplied
6 September 2012

Sibongile Potelwa, a postgraduate student at our university, has been nominated for the 2012 South African Traditional Music Achievement (SATMA) Award in the category “Best Praise Singer”.

Sibongile, who studies Financial Economics & Investment, has been a busy student on the Bloemfontein Campus, with a list of achievements that continues to grow. In his first year, he received a certificate for being on the list of the Top 10 First Years in academics at Villa Bravado residence and he was inducted as a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society in his second year. He was also a tutor in Accounting and Economics for first-year students. This year, Sibongile became a Student Ambassador for the university in the Office of the Rector.

Sibongile performs under the stage name “Sijadu” and has been involved in praise poetry since the age of 11. He lists his recent performance at the Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture, where he performed in front of President Jacob Zuma and other cabinet ministers, as one of his favourites.

“I would like to appeal to the university community, the Free State Province and South Africa at large to vote for me. This award absolutely belongs to Kovsies and therefore I believe that we cannot let the opportunity pass us by,” says Sijadu.

The SATMA Awards take place on 27 October 2012 in East London in the Eastern Cape. Voting lines will be open until 26 October. People can vote by sending a sms with the following information: SATMA, SIJADU, BEST PRAISE SINGER to 34066. Each sms costs R2.
 

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