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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

Lira and Karen Zoid rock Kovsie Stage Extravaganza
2013-09-23

Joined on stage by some of Kovsies’ most talented students, award-winning artists dazzle Bloemfontein audience with show-stopping performances.
23 September 2013
Photos: Johan Roux

 

It was a proper party at this year’s Kovsie Stage Extravaganza, with red-hot performances by two of South Africa’s most celebrated artists.

Singers Lira and Karen Zoid had the audience in the Callie Human Centre at the Bloemfontein Campus on their feet with some of their greatest hits. With the artists on stage,were some of Kovsies’ most talented students, who hold their own among the two music stars.

Lira, a ten-time SAMA prize-winner, showed why she performed at US President Barack Obama's inauguration ball earlier this year. She had the audience eating from her hand with songs from her own albums, as well as from other artists. Between songs, she also offered advice to students and encouraged them to make their mark in life. "The knowledge you acquire here, will open doors for you," she told students, before singing favourite songs likeSomething inside so Strong, Rise Again and Ixesha.

Zoid, also a SAMA prize-winner, enchanted the audience with favourites like Afrikaners is Plesierig and Small world. Things heated up when she did a cover version of Johnny Clegg’s Asimbonanga with Kovsie students joining her on stage. She gave R200 to one lucky student to take his girlfriend for coffee later on.

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