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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

Dreams come true
2014-06-11


Lizelke Klindt – part of the Kovsie family

 

“To be a Kovsie is awesome.” This is how Lizelke Klindt starts the conversation.

Who is Lizelke?

She is one of our top emerging academics. Expanding on her BSc in Astrophysics, she obtained an honours degree in Physics this year – cum laude – earning her the Dean’s and Senate Medal.

At this year’s Kovsie Open Day on the Bloemfontein Campus, Lizelke beamed across the stage at prospective students and their parents – embodying true Kovsie pride.  

Her academic journey has just begun, though. Lizelke is currently doing her MSc in Astrophysics. Her thesis focuses on the ‘Multi-wavelength Analysis of Unidentified Active Galactic Nuclei in the Fermi 2LAC Catalogue’.

“This will allow me to travel around to collect my own data and will broaden my skill set in order to reduce the various data,” she says.

Her achievements have gone hand in hand with hard work and grapping every opportunity the university has to offer, she admits. She also has a lot of praise for our university for offering research opportunities to graduates in their respective fields.  

“My studies have allowed me to travel a lot and to meet people from all over the world. I have made friends in Germany, Poland, Australia and other European countries.

“And the best part of it all is I get to fly a lot. I absolute love it. And if there was such a thing as a second life, I would definitely be a pilot or hopefully an astronaut. It’s a good feeling to be part of the Kovsie family.”

Lizelke plans to continue onto her PhD in the coming years. And then? She fervently wishes to get a post-doctoral position at the very same university that opened a world to her that she loves passionately. A world she has dreamt of since childhood.

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