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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

OSM Camerata among final six in international online competition
2017-08-28

 Description: OSM Camerata Tags: Odeion School of Music Camerata, International Ictus Music Competition, Stilian Kirov, ensembles, orchestras 

The Odeion School of Music Camerata at the University of
the Free State celebrated its fifth birthday in May 2017.
Photo: Supplied 

One of six – and the only contender from outside the United States of America. This is the extent of the achievement by the Odeion School of Music Camerata (OSMC) – one of six finalists in the 2017 International Ictus Music Competition.
The OSMC at the University of the Free State reached the final round of the competition, of which the winners will be announced on 1 September 2017. The competition is an innovative new online competition for ensembles, orchestras, and band/wind ensembles (middle school, high school, youth ensemble, community ensemble, and college/conservatory/university) that compete through video submission.

Odeion concert recorded as entry
The OSMC celebrated its fifth birthday on 31 May 2017, hosting a concert as part of the first round of the competition in the Odeion on the Bloemfontein Campus. The concert, which also served as a fundraising opportunity, consisted of a carefully curated concert programme which was recorded and submitted to the Ictus panel.

The repertoire for the concert, supported by a Concerts SA grant from the Samro Music Foundation, was commissioned from South African composers. Maestri Xavier Cloete and Gerhard de Jager served as conductors.

Substantial money prizes can be won, and ensembles will receive written feedback from a jury consisting of renowned maestri including Stilian Kirov, who was awarded 1st Prize in the Debut Berlin Competition on 18 May 2017. Top prize-winners will be interviewed and interviews will be broadcasted internationally.


Five years of many highlights

The OSMC was strategically founded in 2012 by Marius Coetzee as the OSM’s flagship chamber ensemble, with the main objective of creating a catalyst for excellence.

Over the past five years, the OSMC has premiered 15 new works by South African composers specially commissioned for them. A highlight remains its participation in the 13th International Conservatory Festival in St Petersburg Russia, where the ensemble received a standing ovation during a gala concert in the Glazunov Concert Hall.

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