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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 first place winner in international competition
2017-09-08

Description: Camerata Tags: OSM Camerata, Ictus International Music Competition, Marius Coetzee, Odeion School of Music 

The OSM Camerata with conductors, Xavier Cloete and
Gerhard de Jager received first place in the
University/Conservatory Orchestra category.
Photo: Supplied



The OSM Camerata received first place in the 2017 Ictus International Music Competition for bands and orchestras. Marius Coetzee from the Odeion School of Music at the University of the Free State said: “The award was announced in time for the celebration of the orchestra’s fifth birthday.”

OSM a catalyst for excellence
The OSMC was strategically founded in 2012 by 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. Highlights remain 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, as well as the world première of the Cello Concerto for an African Cellist by South African composer, Hans Huyssen, with South African cellist, Heleen du Plessis as soloist. The CD was released in 2014 on the New Zealand Classical Music label, Ode Records in Auckland, New Zealand and was one of five CDs nominated for the Listeners' Choice Award New York in March 2014.

Competition draws participation from Washington to Bloemfontein

The inaugural year of this annual competition drew applicants from Washington State in the US all the way to Bloemfontein in the Free State. Video submissions were judged and narrowed down to a final round from which prize winners were selected.

The OSM Camerata with conductors, Xavier Cloete and Gerhard De Jager, received first place in the University/Conservatory Orchestra category. 

The competition was founded to highlight the work that music educators, conductors, students, performers and community members make in ensembles at the university, community, youth, high school and middle school levels. 

Competition director, Alex Serio says that “many people do not realise the amount of work that it takes to make these ensembles run. What is more is that most of the public does not realise the level of artistic excellence that can be achieved in these ensembles. Ictus International Music Competition was founded to highlight this level

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