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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

Juan Odendaal on his way to World Champs
2015-03-23

Juan Odendaal
Photo: BOOGS Photography, Andrew McFadden

UFS’s athletes with disabilities are currently excelling in cycling and athletics.

The UFS Para-cyclist, Juan Odendaal, will soon make his debut for South Africa at the 2015 Union Cyclist International (UCI) Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, from 26-29 March 2015.

The Championship event will provide an excellent foundation for re-building the international competitiveness of South Africa’s Para-cycling track team in the build-up to Rio 2016. In a situation where the UCI has hosted relatively few international track competitions over the past three years, the 2015 World Championships will serve as a stepping-stone to the 2016 grand season, when it is expected that the country’s top riders will reach their peak competitive condition.

As the youngest member of the South African team, Odendaal will use the opportunity of competing in the individual time trial and team sprint events to build a platform for an international career will certainly span many years to come.

Another UFS student, Musa Simelane, are excelling and was chosen for the SA Wheelchair Rugby tean, known as the "Wheelboks". They will compete in the 2015 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in London in October and after that head to Japan to compete in the 2015 Asia Oceania Championships.

On a local level, earlier in March this year, other UFS athletes with disabilities also performed well on the athletics track.

Blind athlete and member of the Bloemfontein Campus Student Representative Council (SRC), Louzanne Coetzee, also had a good 1500m race in the beginning of March when she qualified easily for the World Championships, which will take place in Toronto, Canada, later this year. Coetzee and her guide, Rouxné Jacobs, set up a time of 5:45.86, which is well under the required standard of 6 minutes.

The other blind UFS athlete, Danie Breitenbach, alongside his guide Marius Wessels, broke his own national record for the 800m again on Friday 6 March 2015. In November 2014, Breitenbach’s record stood at 2:15.17. This record now stands at 2:13.57. Chances now are that Breitenbach will reach his goal of running the 800m under 2:10 at the Nedbank National Championship for the Physically Disabled at the end of March 2015.

The other Kovsie stars who will be participating at the Nedbank National Championship for the Physically Disabled are as follows:

Athletes:
• Dineo Mokhosoa
• Louzanne Coetzee
• Danie Breitenbach
• Juanré Jenkinson
• Diederich Kleynhans
• Jacques de Bruyn

Swimmer:
• Johann van Heerden

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