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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 alumni honoured
2012-09-10

Mr Mickey Gordon, Head of Marketing at the UFS, with Jaco Loubser (right), Kovsie Alumnus of the Year.
Photo: Dries Myburg
10 September 2012
 

Jaco Loubser, the producer of television programmes such as Shoreline on SABC and Groen, Roer and MK Kampus on kykNET has been named as the Kovsie Alumnus of the Year by the University of the Free State (UFS). Loubser and five other Kovsie alumni were honoured for outstanding achievements and contributions at the Kovsie Alumni Awards held on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Jaco, who obtained a master’s degree in Zoology from the UFS, received the award for outstanding achievements on national and international level for his contribution to and development of the South African film and television industry.

Prof. Stephen Brown, Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Prof. Hennie Theron, Associate Professor in the Department of Cardiology, received the Cum Laude Award for exceptional service for a specific profession. Profs. Brown and Theron were recognised as pioneers in the development and application of medical technology, as well as for their pioneering work in paediatric care.

The Kovsie Alumni Awards for outstanding service to the UFS was also shared by two people, namely Prof. Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, and Advocate Wessels Oosthuizen, Director of the Centre for Financial Planning Law at the UFS. The Kovsie Ambassador’s Award went to Prof. Matie Hoffman, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics.

Jaco thanked Prof. Hoffman in his speech and said it was good to share the stage with one of his former lecturers. Jaco, who has received numerous awards for his television programmes, said the Kovsie Alumni Award was unexpected and it was a great honour to receive it from his alma mater.
 

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