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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

I don’t see myself as a star, says Wayde
2016-09-20

Description: Wayde and Rynhardt celebration Tags: Wayde and Rynhardt celebration

The achievements of Wayde van Niekerk and his
fellow Kovsie athlete, Rynardt van Rensburg,
at the Olympic Games, were celebrated during
a celebration ceremony for them on
15 September 2016 in the Callie Human Centre.
Photo: Johan Roux

The environment surrounding him has changed a lot over the past few weeks, but Wayde van Niekerk doesn’t see himself as superstar. The 400 m Olympic champion is embracing being back home and is feeling the love of the Kovsie family that helped him reach great heights.

“I see this (the Bloemfontein Campus) as a place where I can find peace,” the University of the Free State (UFS) athlete said at a celebration ceremony on 15 September 2016 for him and fellow Olympian, Rynardt van Rensburg. The event celebrated their achievements after participation in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their coaches, Tannie Ans Botha and Derek van Rensburg, were also honoured.

Van Niekerk looks ahead
“I am always excited to get back home,” Van Niekerk said. Everybody who means something to him is in Bloemfontein and on this campus. “I thank you for believing in me. I am only 24 years old and still have quite a few years left to keep on doing what I do.” He also conducted the official opening of the new KovsieFit gymnasium in the Callie Human Centre.

According to Prof Nicky Morgan, acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector, the attendees had “Wayde fever”. “We can’t really say thank you enough – at least for the association we have had with you (Van Niekerk) over the years.”

Rynardt didn’t expect best in Rio

 “I see this (the Bloemfontein Campus)
as a place where I can find peace.”

Van Rensburg reached the semi-finals in Rio and ran a personal best of 1:45.33 in the 800 m. “If we don’t have support, we won’t be able to do this,” he said.
Although his form was improving prior to the Olympics, he didn’t expect to run a personal best. “My dad (and coach) kept believing in me and telling me it is possible to do.”

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