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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

When hockey becomes a part of you
2014-06-25

Izelle Lategan, a fourth-year BSocSci (Human Movement Sciences) student at our university, continues to fly the Kovsies’ flag high on national level.

In December 2010, Izelle made her debut for SA hockey against Argentina. Among her greatest achievements wearing our country’s colours, are:

  • she scored a hat trick against India in Ireland in 2012 (SA won that game 3-2), and
  • she was captain of the Junior World Cup U/21 team in Germany this year.

“Representing the country amounts to a lot of pressure. I managed to get through by working hard and putting in extra training hours in order to achieve all these,” she says. “When you have a setback, don’t step back, but rather make a comeback!”

She appreciates the support she receives from her family, friends and coach – especially when on international tours. “Even though they can’t make it to all my games, they try hard to show their support when they can,” she added.

Izelle’s focus is now on representing Kovsies at the South African Student Sports Union (SASSU) games in Pretoria from 30 June – 4 July 2014. She is currently resting from national duty, since she wants to complete her undergraduate studies this year, but aims to return next year.

Her long-term goal is to play at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

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