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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

UFS Alumni honours four
2007-02-19

 Mr Corrie van Zyl, former South African fast bowler and assistant coach of the national cricket squad, will be honoured by the Alumni of the University of the Free State (UFS) as Kovsie Alumnus of the Year 2006.
 
The award is made to Mr Van Zyl for his outstanding contribution to cricket. Under his guidance the Gestetner Diamond Eagles performed excellently and won five out of the six national one-day cricket tournaments they took part in.
 
The Cum Laude Award, awarded from time to time to any alumnus for outstanding service or achievement at local, national or international level in his/her specific career domain, will be awarded to Messrs Zingile Dingani and  Deon Meyer.
 
Mr Dingani will receive the Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award for his influential position in the government of South Africa as secretary of Parliament.  As former MEC for Finance in the Free State, he performed significant leadership roles in transforming the Free State economy. The Mail and Guardian described him “as a high performer who is likely to become the next Provincial Premier”.
 
Mr Deon Meyer, acclaimed South African suspense novel writer, will also receive a Kovsie Alumni Cum Laude Award for 2006.  Mr Meyer received numerous acknowledgements and awards for his contribution to literature on both national and international level.
 
Prof Helena Van Zyl, Director of the School of Management at the UFS, receives the Kovsie Alumni National Management Award for exceptional service during 2006.  Through her extraordinary abilities and leadership skills, Prof Van Zyl has managed to build the School of Management at the UFS to one of the most reckoned management schools countrywide.
 
The award ceremony will take place on Friday 9 March 2007 during a gala award banquet in the Reitz Hall of the UFS Centenary Complex on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.  
 
All alumni of the UFS are welcome to attend the function. The guest artists will be various talented Kovsies and the entrance fee of R100 per person includes a three course meal.  
 
Those who are interested can contact Ms Annanda Calitz at 051 401 3382 or alumni@ufs.ac.za.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
16 February 2007
 

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