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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

Clarinet lecturer honoured with prestigious international artistship
2015-11-13

Clarinetist Danré Strydom

Danré Strydom, lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) of the University at the Free State (UFS) has recently been added to the Buffet Crampon executive list of representative artist. Buffet Crampon is one of the most iconic woodwind brands and the leader in manufacturing first-rate clarinets. The artistship entails a highly competitive selection process to become the first South African Buffet Crampon brand ambassador.

Buffet-Crampon, based in France and Germany, is ailed internationally as the “Steinway” of clarinet manufacturers. The company follows a meticulous selection process, and the title of Buffet Artist is not bestowed lightly. Strydom will be the first South African artists to represent the brand.

For nearly 200 years, musicians have received continuous artistic excellence and a dedication to music from Buffet-Crampon and its instruments. In a dialogue with the most renowned artists, the brand’s ambition is to combine tradition with modernity, know-how with creation, and history with innovation in order to offer excellent wind instruments unique in character, and underpinned by undeniable quality.

Strydom received her formative musical education at the Windhoek Conservatoire, before completing her undergraduate degree at the UFS. Her playing then won her several prestigious scholarships for overseas studies. She began her postgraduate studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and then furthered her studies in Belgium, resulting in two separate Master’s Degrees in Clarinet and in Bass Clarinet Performance from the Royal Conservatory, Ghent University. 

Besides currently serving as principal clarinetist for the Free State Symphony Orchestra and Namibian National Symphony, she was an ad-hoc member of the esteemed Brussels Philharmonic from 2009-2013. The spell with the Brussels Philharmonic included an Academy Award for the soundtrack of the motion picture, “The Artist,” which Strydom considers one of her proudest moments.

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