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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

UFS appoints Director: KovsieRugby
2012-10-16

Michael Horak.
Photo: Johan Roux
16 October 2012

Mr Michael Horak has been appointed for a three year term by the UFS as Director: KovsieRugby. He began working at the university on 1 October 2012.

Mr Horak’s involvement in and experience of Super Rugby coaching, his working relationship with the Free State Rugby Union, his understanding of coaching structures and systems, as well as his knowledge of Kovsie players and present structures made him the obvious choice. He is also well positioned to see to it that the Shimlas are prepared for the next Varsity Cup tournament, which begins in February 2013.

His career includes the position of General Manager of the Cheetahs and Rugby Affairs at the Free State Rugby Union, a defence coach in Super Rugby, as well as senior Currie Cup teams and a rugby consultant for Grey College and Windhoek Gymnasium.

Some of his responsibilities as Director of KovsieRugby include the coaching of the Shimlas (head coach); the planning, development, management and implementation of a coordinated coaching and rugby programme throughout all sections of the UFS Rugby club; the development and implementation of innovative coaching techniques and methods in regards to players; as well as the development and implementation of a medium and long term strategy for the recruitment and retention of players that will be approved by the university to make success possible.

On his vision for rugby at the UFS, Mr Horak says: “It is a great privilege for me to be involved with KovsieRugby. Good work was done by Mr Jaco Swanepoel that I would like to take further to give players the best chance to be successful. Winning is what it is about and I am really looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead for all of us. My coaching team of Quintin Kruger, Hendro Scholtz and Barry Goodes is incredibly motivated to serve Shimlas rugby and to achieve success. We hope that everybody will support us and we are looking forward to seeing everybody at Shimla Park when the Shimlas win!”

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