News
Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Use of medicinal plants on the rise

Farmers, research institutes and academic institutions have started conducting field trials and commercial cultivation of medicinal plant species that are in high demand.

Prof Francis Lewu, HoD: Agriculture, said this during his Inaugural Professorial Address titled, “Cultivation and Conservation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs): an Interface between Botany and Agronomy”.

The C3 National Research Foundation- rated established scholar was appointed a full professor of Plant Science at CPUT in 2018.

Lewu said that a global increase in the demand of medicinal plant products is estimated to be worth R2.9 billion per annum. He added that in South Africa a large business venture has been created in the interest of plant-derived medicines with an estimated value of R270 million per annum.

“Specifically in KwaZulu-Natal, it is estimated that 1.9 tons of indigenous African ginger is traded annually,” he added. “The aerial part of the Khoisan traditional plant “Buchu” is sold at R840/kg, and the seeds are sold for R20 000/kg.”

He observed that the utilisation of MAPs as a source of primary health care to human beings and their livestock is an inherited practice which has been passed down from one generation to the next. Lewu said 80% of black South Africans use MAPs mainly for herbal drugs or condiments.

“On a global scale, an estimated 70-80% of the world’s population relies mainly on MAPs for their primary healthcare needs and the global demand for herbal medicine is growing,” he observed.

He said that between 1991 and 2000 the international trade in MAPs was dominated by 12 countries including temperate Asia and Europe, where the former was responsible for 42% of the annual global importation, and the latter 34%.

“Over the past three decades, the demand for MAPs across the world has tremendously increased, with consistent annual increase in demand by up to 15% in Europe, North America and Asia.”

In South Africa, Lewu has graduated nine Masters and two Doctoral students and currently supervises four PhD candidates.

“Currently, we are investigating fertilizer requirements for the proper establishment of the species on cultivated land,” said Lewu. “The first of the trials are completed, and two Masters students are compiling their reports at CPUT.”

As South Africans celebrate Women’s month to pay homage to the brave and fearless women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956, CPUT announces its commitment to increasing the number of female researchers.

Two talented CPUT teams have qualified for the national round of the World Robot Olympiad (WRO).
The teams recently earned the second and third place respectively in the Advanced Robotics Challenge (ARC) category during the Western Cape leg of the WRO.

“The task for the 2019 ARC was for the students to design and program an autonomous robot with cameras and other sensors to perform QR code decoding, localisation, mapping and relocation of certain cubes randomly placed in the playfield. After performing the task the robot is expected to navigate autonomously back to its home position, said Inyeni Showers, the team’s robotics coach.

CPUT was represented by six students from the Mechatronics Department who formed two competing teams, Team Alpha and Team Sigma.
Team Alpha consisted of Hans Werner Tschohl, Ayabonga Pokwana and Adam Mbombole while Laila Kahn, Mikhail Solomons and Kandolo Christian were the members of Team Sigma.

Showers, a Master Student in the Adaptronics AMTL, said the team expanded their knowledge in programming because of the training they received before the competition and learnt from interacting with students from other universities.

The Adaptronics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Laboratory (AMTL), one of 19 Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Technology Stations, established a Robotics Programme towards the end of 2018. This was to heed the call for capacity building for the 4th Industrial Revolution with a focus on Robotics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The Adaptronics AMTL provided the training, resources and facilities for the students to prepare for the competition.

The World Robot Olympiad aims to bring together young people from all over the world to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills through organising challenging and educational robotics competitions.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Making a difference in communities

The Department of Emergency Medical Sciences is helping a group of Ocean View residents to make a difference in their community by training them as Emergency First Aid Responders (EFAR).

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Women's Day celebrated

CPUT’s phenomenal women came out in their numbers to celebrate Women’s Day with a 2.5 km fun run/walk on the Bellville campus. 

CPUT PR student Zozibini Tunzi was in “absolute disbelief” when she was crowned Miss South Africa on Women’s Day.

Thursday, 08 August 2019

PR student in Miss SA finals

Zozibini Tunzi, a 25-year-old beauty completing her BTech degree in Public Relations (PR) Management, is one of 16 finalists vying for the coveted Miss South Africa crown.

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