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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 athlete on her way to Athletics World Championships in France
2013-06-18

Louzanne Coetzee (left) and her guide, Rouxné Vermaak, in action during a 10km road race a few months ago in Bloemfontein.
Photo: Johan Roux
18 June 2013

A student from the University of the Free State (UFS) is part of a team of 32 athletes to represent South Africa at the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athletics World Championships in France later this year.

Louzanne Coetzee, a second-year BA Corporate and Marketing Communication student, was selected to represent the national team in the 800-metre race at the championships that will be held in the city of Lyon from 19 to 28 July 2013. The visually-impaired student will participate in the T11 sport class for runners that make use of a guide and have to wear a blindfold during the race. This will be Louzanne’s first international competition. Approximately 1 300 athletes from 90 countries are expected to participate in the championships.

Louzanne boasts a best time of 2 minutes and 53.8 seconds in the 800 metre, a time she reached earlier this year at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Pretoria. At this meeting she won three gold medals in the 800, 1 500 and 5 000 metres.

Louzanne says she will work hard to bring back medals. "I’m not all that experienced, but I will give my best and trust in the Lord. I will work hard to do something for my country."

She and the rest of the 31 athletes will be accompanied by four coaches, a team manager and an assistant manager.

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