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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 community proud of Wayde’s hat trick of awards
2015-11-24

 

The Kovsie athlete Wayde van Niekerk received a hat trick of awards at the SA Sports Awards on Sunday 22 November 2015. He was named Sports Star of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, and was crowned as winner in the People’s Choice category.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Wayde changed the game – Naidoo

For a long time, AB de Villiers and Chad le Clos have dominated fan support in South Africa, but Wayde van Niekerk changed the game.

This was what Kass Naidoo, well-known sports journalist and cricket commentator, tweeted after the Kovsie athlete, Wayde van Niekerk, made a clean sweep at the tenth SA Sports Awards in his home town, Bloemfontein, on Sunday 22 November 2015.

According to Naidoo, the golden boy from the University of the Free State (UFS) is now the hottest property in South Africa, and should be watched during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Hat trick for Kovsie athlete
Naidoo was one of several celebrities to congratulate Van Niekerk on Twitter after Wayde received a hat trick of awards in the Sand du Plessis Theatre. The 400 m athlete was named Sports Star of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, and was crowned as winner in the People’s Choice category.

Apart from this, a humble Van Niekerk received total prize money of R1,1 million and two luxury Mercedes Benz vehicles - one for Sports Star of the Year and one as People’s Choice winner.

Big names outperformed
What makes his awards even more remarkable is the fact that he has outperformed several big names.
In addition to De Villiers and Le Clos, the tennis player, Kevin Anderson, the swimmer, Cameron van der Burgh, and the athlete, Caroline Wöstmann, were all nominated for Sports Star of the Year.

For the People’s Choice Award, Van Niekerk beat De Villiers, the cyclist, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, (who was crowned Sportswoman of the Year), Le Clos, and the wheelchair tennis player, Lucas Sithole. The public voted for this award.

Le Clos was nominated with the mountain biker, Greg Minnaar, for Sportsman of the Year.

Best is yet to come
“I don't think we have seen the best of Wayde. Hopefully that will come in Rio next year, along with a gold medal,” Naidoo tweeted.

The Springbok winger, JP Pietersen, also congratulated Van Niekerk on the social network, saying that he deserved his award as Sportsman of the Year.

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