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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

Odeion School of Music launches new Organ Chair
2015-09-16



Liesbeth Schlumberger-Kurpershoek

The Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the University of the Free State (UFS) has become the first in the country to launch an Organ Chair, named after seasoned international organist Liesbeth Schlumberger-Kurpershoek.

Over the last two decades South African has seen a decline in organ student numbers. The School of Music has taken the initiative by deploying experts and instructors to coach and mentor OSM students, in an effort to increase their chances of excelling in the international music scene.

The Organ Chair is an entity of the International Artistic Mentorship Programme (IAMP), which aims to establish partnerships between successful international musicians and OSM students. It is within this context that the OSM decided to launch the institutionalisation of an Organ Chair in a programme scheduled to take place from 8 -13 September 2015 in the Bloemfontein Campus and in surrounding areas.

Meet the expert

Liesbeth Schlumberger-Kurpershoek is a French-South African organist and pedagogue, who is well versed in the music profession. This bodes well for our university’s music students.  Initially educated by the great Stephanus Zondagh at the University of Pretoria while still a school pupil, Liesbeth’s passion for music has soared to great height since then.

Some of her accolades include winning the prestigious SABC Music Prize in 1985, and the International Organ Competition held in Bordeaux in 1989.

Liesbeth has worked with distinguished organists at the France Conservatoire National de Ruiel-Malmaison, the Conservatoire National de Région, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Lyon, and is the organist at Reformed Church of Etoile in Paris. In 2010, she was an adjudicator at the Chartres International Organ Competition, one of the most prestigious of its kind in the organ world.

This active recitalist and masterclass pedagogue facilitated classes attended by master students from Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and Potchestroom, and workshops as part of launching the Liesbeth Schlumberger-Kurpershoek OSM Organ Chair.

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