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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

Student performers dazzle at Kovsie Extravaganza
2014-10-01

The Kovsie Extravaganza is an annual highlight on our university’s Arts and Culture calendar. The event offers outstanding Kovsie artists the opportunity to showcase their talent in music, dance and poetry – to name but a few – live on stage. The Sand d u Plessis theatre in Bloemfontein was packed to capacity for this highly-anticipated performance on 27 September 2014.

With the multi-award winning a cappella trio, The Soil, and Kovsie Idol Delia Moumakwe included in the line-up, tickets were already sold out nine hours before the show.

But the Kovsie acts by no means paled in comparison to these stars. In addition, the Free State Youth Orchestra – which includes some of the most talented students at our Odeion School of Music – provided an inspired performance.

This full production had the crowd dancing, cheering and clapping throughout the ecvent. The size and reaction of the audience was firm proof of the Kovsie Extravaganza’s growing popularity.

Speaking to Ntsika Ngxanga, a member of The Soil, he said that they were truly blessed to have made it this far in the music industry. Growing up in Soweto in difficult circumstances, the trio is now performing on stages across the globe. “We thank the UFS for their support towards the extravaganza. We definitely wish the student community all the best with their studies. Education is important,” Ngxanga said.

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