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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

Eminent Chinese musicians perform at Odeion
2011-03-08

Hing fat-Wong

A renowned and well-known award-winning Chinese musician from Hong Kong, Hing fat-Wong, enchanted music lovers of the classical genre, after joining forces with Frankie Feng, Music Director of Free State Orchestra of Chinese Music (FSOCM), live on stage at our university’s Odeion for the first time in 30 years. Wong and Feng lit up the stage, to a full house, with an outstanding orchestral performance at the FSOCM’s first concert for the year, called Ancient Chinese Classical Music. Wong was invited by the FSOCM in January 2011 to play solo pieces on the traditional Chinese instruments, the pipa and guqin.

Wong conducted two works, Shanbei Suite and Variations on Yang Guan. Both were arranged by Feng and are based on Chinese folk songs and ancient melodies, respectively. According to Wong, ancient melodies refer to all music before the 1911 Chinese Revolution. However, Wong stated that Feng’s arrangement gave new life to these melodies, as played by the FSOCM.
 
Wong proved to the audience that his talent goes beyond the conductor's baton, and includes his ability to play instruments such as the pipa and guqin masterfully, by performing several solo pieces using these two traditional Chinese instruments.
 
During his stay in Bloemfontein, Wong was invited by Prof. Nicole Viljoen from our Department of Music to host a successful seminar on the appreciation of Chinese music. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to a lecture by Wong and gain first-hand experience of classic traditional Chinese instruments being played. The FSOCM is a multi-cultural orchestra and looks forward to hosting more high-quality performances with soloists of the calibre of Wong throughout the year.

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