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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

Winning culture helps Kovsies Tennis team claim ninth gold
2015-12-09


Ruben Kruger of the University of the Free State in action at the 2015 USSA tournament in Cape Town.
Photo: Janine de Kock

A winning culture in the Kovsies Tennis Team, combined with good planning, contributed to the University of the Free State (UFS) USSA success recipe.

This is what Janine Erasmus, one of the team's captains, had to say.

According to her, this is why the UFS were able to handle the pressure of being the favourite so well, and this is what helped her team to achieve a ninth consecutive gold medal in Cape Town on 4 December 2015.

This was the sixth year in a row that the UFS triumphed in the combined USSA format since its inception in 2010. In 2007 and 2008, its Women's team won gold, and in 2009, it was the Men's team.

Erasmus was full of praise for the Kovsie coach, Marnus Kleinhans, and Janine de Kock, manager of KovsieTennis.

“We had a build-up of a few months to the USSA tournament, and they (Kleinhans and De Kock) already knew exactly what to do,” she said.

Erasmus, who won a third gold medal, believes her team had great depth this year.

Four in select squad

Kovsies and Maties played in the USSA Tennis Finals for a fourth consecutive year.

Erasmus and her team beat the Stellenbosch team 7 - 3 on 4 December 2015, after they defeated Tukkies 8 - 0 in their semi-final.

 

Mareli Bojé is one of four tennis players of the University of the Free State included in a 2015 USSA tournament team.
Photo: Janine de Kock

Arné Nel, Cornelius Rall, Duke Munro, and Mareli Bojé are the four Kovsies included in the USSA tournament team.

Nel, the other captain from the UFS, won all his matches for the third successive year. Munro won a gold medal at USSA for the seventh year in a row.

Gold for Table Tennis


Three UFS sports teams made it to the USSA finals, all against Maties. The tennis and men's table tennis teams were both winners, but the Sevens rugby team got stuck.

The Kovsie table tennis team beat Maties 3 - 1 in Kimberley.

Silver for Sevens rugby

The Kovsie Sevens rugby team, third at USSA for the past two years, walked away with silver in George on 1 December 2015.

The team was defeated by Maties 10 - 31 in the final. This was after they won 24 - 14 against Pukke in the semi-final, and 28 - 12 against the Central University of Technology in the quarter final.

Tukkies, the 2014 USSA Sevens champions, together with several other teams, did not take part  because the tournament was postponed because of the nationwide student protests.

The Kovsie swimming team took part in the USSA tournament in Johannesburg from 28 November to 30 November 2015.


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