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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

Kovsies heading to Varsity Netball finals – again!
2014-10-14



The Kovsie Netball side is well underway to hold onto their champion status in the Varsity Netball Championships. On Monday evening, 13 October 2014, they beat NWU-Pukke 51–45 in the semi-final that took place on our Bloemfontein Campus.

The ladies from the UFS established a comfortable lead early on. Despite a strong comeback effort from NWU, Kovsies ended the game as conquerors with their second consecutive final ahead of them for next Monday.

Our team could hardly ask for better supporters, as the crowd roared them on to a winning score. They made the most of every attacking opportunity on court and played an offensive match. This was especially evident during the power plays – a period of time during which each goal is worth two points.

NWU-Pukke managed to fight their way back, coming within a goal of their hosts. But Kovsies went into a well-earned 10–6 lead during the first break. Kovsies’ Danelle Willemse and Ane Botha impressed with their accuracy at the hoop and clinically-executed shots at goal. At half-time, Kovsies had built up to a 27–14 lead.

The home side was in complete control of the game as they went into the final break with the scoreboard at 43–31. NWU’s effort fell short in the last quarter, though, and they could not snatch the victory from the defending Kovsie champions.

Kovsies will face the Tuks team in Pretoria on Monday 20 October at 18:45 for the final of the 2014 Varsity Netball tournament.


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