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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

Goodbye SIFE, hello Enactus
2013-05-01

The Kovsies Enactus team
24 May 2013
Photo: Linda Fekisi

The Students in Free Enterprise, better known as SIFE, has changed its brand name to Enactus. This global rebranding took place late last year. It forms part of an attempt to increase the organisation’s level of reach and impact. It reflects that entrepreneurial action is not something that is relevant to a single culture or nationality.

The organisation is still in essence one which assists university students to create community empowerment projects. The Kovsies Enactus team has 53 active members on the Bloemfontein Campus.

“We encourage student development through Enactus. It is a great platform for students. There is a combination of ideas, expertise and diversity from different faculties,” says the Vice-Chairperson of internal affairs, Mirriam Matsoaboli.

Enactus is currently working on three major projects: Local Economic Development (LED) and Edcon, Shifting Focus, and an environmental project. LED works with 19 established businesses which are struggling to make a profit while Edcon deals with three designers in textile and clothes making. Shifting Focus forms part of the educational division. It focuses on instilling entrepreneurial skills in high school learners. The Enactus team serves as a mentoring structure and advises them. The environmental project is in its infant stage, with. Enactus working on recycling bottles and paper, especially old study guides on campus.

“Having a branch on the QwaQwa campus has also been one of our objectives. We are still in the process of establishing one,” adds Mirriam.

The Enactus team is currently preparing for the national competitions which will take place later in Sandton on 10 and 11 July.

  • Students tell us about your association and we will profile it on our Kovsielife page. Contact Amanda Tongha at tonghaa@ufs.ac.za

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