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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

Miss SA and Shimla’s Young Guns captain motivate Kovsie students
2014-04-09


Miss SA and Shimla’s Young Guns captain motivate Kovsie students
Photo: Sonia Small

Rolene Strauss, Stefan Janse van Rensburg and Shimla’s Young Guns team awarded certificates of excellence by Dean: Student Affairs.

On her ninth day as Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, a fourth-year medical student at the UFS, together with Stefan Janse van Rensburg, captain of the Shimla’s Young Guns who won the U/20 Varsity Cup title, addressed a group of male students.

Residents of the JBM men’s residence, as well as the Shimla Young Guns, were inspired and motivated by Rolene and Stefan.

“Kovsies is where I come from; this is why I am who I am today. One day I will call my autobiography, Life as a garden, because I see life as a big garden where we all grow as flowers. In the Kovsie garden we are flowers with our roots firmly anchored in Kovsie soil.

“I take from Kovsies the ability to adapt, to appreciate and to care. With these positive characteristics, people around me experience freedom, love and kindness,” Rolene said.

Stefan told the group of students that it is important to surround yourself with people who can lift you up, especially in difficult times.

Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs at the UFS, presented Rolene, Stefan and the entire Young Guns team, together with their coach, Jaco Swanepoel, certificates in recognition of excellence.

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