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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

Maryka Holtzhausen, Wayde van Niekerk and Driaan Bruwer win Kovsie Sports Star Awards
2014-10-29



Maryka Holtzhausen and Wayde van Niekerk
Photo: Hannes Naude
Our university honoured our top athletic achievers at the annual Kovsie Sports Star Awards that took place on 23 October 2014.

Maryka Holtzhausen and Wayde van Niekerk were named Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year respectively.

Holtzhausen captained the Protea netball team that participated in a host of test series and championships. These included:
•    a test series against Trinidad & Tobago and England in October last year,
•    the Fast Five World Series in Auckland, New Zealand during November 2013, as well as
•    the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year.

Van Niekerk, in turn, set a new SA record in the 400 m of 44.38 at the Diamond League meeting in New York, USA during June 2014. As a member of the Protea team who participated in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this year, he won the silver medal in the 400 m sprint. In August 2014, Van Niekerk clinched the silver medal in the 400 m at the CAA Senior African Athletics Championship in Morocco. He also formed part of the CAA African Athletics team who competed in the intercontinental cup meeting during September 2014. The team won gold in the 4x400 m relay at this event.

The Junior Sportsperson for 2014 is Driaan Bruwer. He was a member of the SA U/19 cricket team that won the Junior World Cup this year.

Our university’s sports stars were honoured in the following five categories:

•    Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year. Everyone that represented South Africa at a senior level was eligible for the title. The winners each received a trophy and each sportsman and sportswomen in this category were honoured with a medal.
•    Junior Sportsperson of the Year. The winner received a trophy.
•    Sports stars that represented South Africa at senior and junior level. The achievers received certificates.
•    Sports stars that represented the UFS in the national student teams. These sports stars also received certificates.
•    Certificates were also awarded to the KovsieSport Club sports stars.

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