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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 hikers to Cape Town reflect on their journey
2014-05-26

 

For the four volunteers from the university who are currently on their way to the Cape on foot, every hour of every day is a victory.

It is three weeks since two employees from the University of the Free State (UFS), Adéle van Aswegen and Ntokozo Nkabinde, together with two other Bloemfontein residents, Nico Piedt and Ronel Warner, left Bloemfontein on fóót for the Cape, in order to highlight the problem of food insecurity among students.

On Sunday 18 May they crossed the halfway mark at Beaufort West and will conclude their journey on Tuesday 3 June in Cape Town.

This is what the hikers have to say after three weeks on the road:

Adéle van Aswegen
It isn’t only a physical journey, but rather an emotional journey you undertake. You learn what it means to be truly thankful for basic things like clothes, a place to sleep and food.

Nico Piedt
I know what it feels like to survive on only a glass of water in your stomach – a cup of weak tea if you’re lucky – for the whole day. If I can help (through the hike) to give someone a better chance in life, then it is worthwhile.

Ronel Warner
You think and grow simultaneously. As you plan every stride ahead of you, you also plan your life ahead.

Ntokozo Nkabinde
You don’t walk for yourself. You undertake this journey, maybe because you want to help someone, but this journey is actually in honour of something bigger and you just have to endure.”

These boots are made for walking ... to Cape Town (Article of 02 May 2014)
“Aren’t auntie and them hungry yet?” Country folk worried about NSH hikers (15 May 2014)

Daily updates:
(You can also follow us on @UFSweb for daily tweets)

Day 33: 2 June 2014
13:40
20 km
Sunset Beach, Cape Town

Day 32: 1 June 2014
16:05
26 km
Mervyn and Sanet Wessels, Belville

Day 31: 31 May 2014
16:31
39.6 km
Rhonell and Gavin Julain, Paarl

Day 30: 30 May 2014
14:00
16 km
Monte Rosa, Rawsonville

Day 29: 29 May 2014
13:16
31 km
The Habit, Worcester

Day 28: 28 May 2014
11:00
22.4 km
Monte Roza, De doorns

Day 27: 27 May 2014
17:00
21.1 km
Karoo Hotel

Day 26: 26 May 2014
18:27
43.3 km
Tows river

Day 25: 25 May 2014
12:18
Lord Milner Hotel, Matjiesfontein

Day 24: 24 May 2014
16:30
42 km
Laingsburg Country Lodge

Day 23: 23 May 2014
17:32
41.8 km
Vergenoeg

Day 22: 22 May 2014
16:42
43 km
Assendelft Lodge and Bush Camp, Prins Albert

Day 21: 21 May 2014
15:09
42 km
Leeu Gamka Hotel

Day 20: 20 May 2014
13:39
20 km
Alida, Springfontein

Day 19: 19 May 2014
12:31
27.6 km
Teri Moja Game Lodge

Day 18: 18 May 2014
First rest day
Nagenoeg Guesthouse, Beaufort West

Day 17: 17 May 2014
19:30
62.3 km
Nagenoeg Guesthouse, Beaufort West

Day 16: 16 May 2014
13:00
14 km
Taaibochfontein

Day 15: 15 May 2014
16:03
32 km
Travalia, Three Sisters

Day 14: 14 May 2014
18:33
43 km
Joalani Guest Farm

Day 13: 13 May 2014
17:30
33 km
Die Rondawels

Day 12: 12 May 2014
16:49
40 km
Aandrus B&B in Richmond

Day 11: 11 May 2014
39 km
Wortelfontein (Magdel and Christiaan)

Day 10: 10 May 2014
15:44
34 km
Hanover Lodge

Day 9: 09 May 2014
40.8 km
Camping between Colesberg and Hanover

Day 8: 08 May 2014
15:25
33.7 km
Colesberg, The Lighthouse Guesthouse

Day 7: 07 May 2014
15:08
23 km
Orange River Lodge

Day 6: 06 May 2014
15:57
51.06 km
Gariep Forever Resort

Day 5: 05 May 2014
12:18
28 km
Rondefontein

Day 4: 04 May 2014
15:27
35 km
Trompsburg: Fox Den

Day 3: 03 May 2014
17:30
46.74 km
Edenburg Country Lodge (Hotel)

Day 2: 02 May 2014
11:44 am
15.3 km
Tom's Place

Day 1: 01 May 2014
32 km
Leeuwberg

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