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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

Three from university now play SA u/21 hockey
2012-07-26

Tanya Brits in action.
20 July 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) boasts three hockey players who have been included in the SA u/21 teams that will take part in the interprovincial hockey tournament for seniors during August 2012.

The two Protea players, Izelle Lategang (a second-year B.A. student), and Tanya Brits (a first-year B.A. Arts student), who toured with the Proteas in Europe during May and June this year, are the pride of the university. A further honour for the Kovsie Hockey Club was the naming of Izelle as captain of the SA u/21 team. Nicol Walraven from Eunice Girls’ School is also in the team. Nicol is the sister of Brett Walraven, who plays for both the Kovsies’ men’s first team and the Free State.

For the first time in more than 30 years, the university’s men’s hockey team has produced a SA u/21 player. Richard Pautz, a first-year B.A. student, played for the SA Schools team two years ago and made a return to hockey when he became a student of the UFS this year.

Two other students from this university, Cornelle Botha and Niel Roode, were in the final training group.
 

 

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