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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

Wayde nominated with SA’s best
2015-11-04

      
Wayde van Niekerk sweating on
Pellies Park at the University of the Free State
Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Charl Devenish

The Kovsie athlete Wayde van Niekerk’s dream year is not over yet.

The University of the Free State’s golden boy was nominated in two categories of the SA Sports Awards in Johannesburg on 3 November 2015 . The winners of the tenth SA Sports Awards will be crowned in Van Niekerk’s home town, Bloemfontein, on 22 November 2015.
  
For the awards, sports stars are being judged on their achievements between 1 September 2014 and 30 September 2015.

The 23-year-old Van Niekerk was nominated as Sportsman of the Year and in the People’s Choice category.

One of three with two nominations

Van Niekerk is one of three sports stars nominated for two awards. The other two are the swimmer, Chad le Clos (Sportsman of the Year and People’s Choice), and the cyclist, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Sportswoman of the Year and People’s Choice).

In the category Sportsman of the Year, Van Niekerk was nominated with Le Clos, and the mountain biker, Greg Minnaar.

He will compete against the Protea cricket player AB de Villiers, Moolman-Pasio, Le Clos, and the wheelchair tennis player, Lucas Sithole, for the People’s Choice Award.

After enjoying a dream year, Van Niekerk was named on 21 October 2015 as KovsieSport’s Sportsman of the Year for a third consecutive year.

In August, he won the 400 m at the World Championships in Beijing in a time of 43.48 s. His winning time was the sixth fastest in history, with only three athletes achieving better times.

NBC Olympics, a division of the American broadcasting network NBC, recently filmed a special insert on him at the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. The insert will be screened in the build-up to, and during, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Vote for Wayde


Supporters have until 21:00 on 22 November 2015 to vote for their favourite sports stars, by sending an SMS at the cost of R1,50 to 45210.

To vote for Van Niekerk in the category People’s Choice, send an SMS with the letter E to 45210.

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