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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

5 things you might not know about Elizabeth Molapo: Miss SA 2016 finalist
2015-11-20

Kovsies’ own beauty queen, Elizabeth Molapo

Elizabeth Lihotetso Molapo is a final-year BCom Economics student at the University of the Free State. The impeccably-beautiful 23-year-old is the only Bloemfontein representative among the top 12 contestants who have their eyes fixed on the Miss South Africa 2016 crown.

You might not know that:


1. Elizabeth was named after Queen Elizabeth 2, with whom she shares a birthday. Her middle name, “Lihotetso”, translates as “Fire”. Suffice it to say, her burning desire to learn - the pull factor for her embarking on the Miss SA 2016 journey - is a manifestation of her fate.

2. This is not her first time in the Miss SA competition. Last year, Elizabeth gave the Miss SA competition a try but unfortunately did not make very far.

3. Her childhood dream was to become a pediatrician. Economics won when she had to shadow at a hospital when she was in high school, and was horrified at the sight of blood. Elizabeth then decided: “This isn’t for me!”

4. “Enter Miss SA,” she recalls Rolene Strauss saying. The former Miss SA and current Miss World encouraged her to follow her dreams, and to aim for the most prestigious tiara in the country.

5. The last book she read was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is also the next one she might read, as she has read it three times already.

Other Kovsies who have made strides in the beauty pageant realm include Rolene Strauss who was crowned Miss SA 2014 and Miss World 2015. Earlier this year, Relebohile Kobeli was also crowned Miss Lesotho 2015 and is now en route to Miss World International 2015 in China.

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