HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day on the 21st of March each year. Human Rights Day reminds us of two things – namely the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, as well as the progress we have made as a nation in achieving human rights for all South Africans. It is furthermore on this day that we commemorate the establishment of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The SAHRC promotes the respect, protection, development and attainment of human rights in South Africa. Interestingly, the SAHRC was established on 21 March 1996 – exactly 35 years after the Sharpeville Massacre. In response thereto, the United Nations has furthermore declared March 21st as ‘The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’ and signifies a greater international effort to eliminate racial discrimination globally.

Human Rights Day is thus a day on which we remind all South Africans that, in stark contrast with our racial segregationist history, we now have a Constitution with a pioneering Bill of Rights that serves to shape our democratic era with the values of non-racism, dignity and equality.

STBB Claremont



www.harfield-village.co.za
www.facebook.com/harfield.village.community

OUTDOOR FITNESS SAFETY


Thousands of people are using the warmer weather to train outdoors – whether for personal fitness goals, or to prepare for that next big marathon or cycle challenge. Whatever the driving motivation might be, it is important to be safe and to make personal safety part of your training regime.

“We hope that by following this easy step-by-step guide you will be able to focus all your attention on your training,” says Fidelity ADT’s National Marketing and Communications Manager, Charnel Hattingh.

1. Identification – Carry some form of identification on you, so that any bystanders will know who you are and who to contact in case of an emergency.  Most exercise gear has small pockets for this very reason. 
2. Mobile tracking – Find out from your security company if they offer a mobile tracking app which can be downloaded on your cell phone.  This is an effective way of alerting emergency service providers when you need them while also giving them your accurate location, especially if you are running or hiking along a mountain path or in a forest.
3. Safety in numbers – Hattingh strongly discourages running or cycling alone. Rather join a group of people who can look out for your safety and also offer moral support along the way when muscle pain or cramps set in.
4. Tell someone – Another good idea is to ensure someone you trust, knows that you are headed out for a run or cycle, has an idea of the route you plan to take and when you should be returning. In this way, they can quickly raise the alarm if you do not return as planned.
5. Be visible - Wear reflective clothing to make sure you are visible to other road users. Run against traffic and cycle with traffic. This makes you even more visible to others. If you can, make use of pavements or any designated cycle tracks.
6. Vary your routine – Changing up your route and training time makes it difficult for any would-be criminal to anticipate your movements. The change in scenery can also make the physical exertion more bearable.
7. Charge your phone battery – Make sure your cell phone battery is fully charged so that you are able to call for help in case of an emergency. It is also important to save the correct emergency contact numbers on your phone, so that you can quickly contact the police, your security company or your neighbourhood watch when you need them.

“Good luck for your fitness programme. We hope you reach the targets you have set yourself, whatever they may be,” says Hattingh.


MANY PLANS MAKE LIGHT WORK OF MOVING


For most people, moving is the big downside of buying a new home. It is stressful and can also play havoc with your finances, but fortunately there are ways to make it easier.

And the first step, says Carl Coetzee, CEO of SA’s foremost home loan originator BetterBond*, is to set a definite moving date. “Many home sale agreements will just say that you can move in “on transfer” of the property into your name, but it is much better to settle on an actual, specific date in the contract, even if that means you will have to pay the seller some occupational rent.

“Then you can give proper notice to your landlord, if you are renting, and sort out your exit inspection and the return of your damage deposit.”

The next step is to book the movers. “You need to be smart about this and try not to move at year-end, month-end or on a weekend as these are their most expensive days,” he says. “You should also be sure to get comparative quotes. But don’t skimp on expertise or references, properly trained moving staff, roadworthy trucks or goods-in-transit insurance. It’s just not worth it.”

The third thing to arrange, Coetzee says, is a trusted baby-sitter and / or a pet minder for your moving day. “Children and animals generally find moving even more stressful than adults do, and even if they are not upset by all the upheaval, trying to direct the movers, unpack and keep an eye on them at the same time can be tricky.

“So it is much better for them to spend the day away from the chaos, preferably with a family member or friend they already know. With older children, you can also reduce moving anxiety by explaining what is happening and giving them time to adjust to the idea. Take them to your new home beforehand and show them where their room is, where their toys and other belongings will go, and where you plan to put your things.”

Other pre-move steps to take, he says, include the following:

  • Check your insurance. It is very important to make sure that your new home will be insured from the day you move in, even if you have not taken transfer yet. The estate agent who sold you the property or your lender will be able to help you with this. You must also check your short-term insurance and make absolutely certain that your car, furniture, clothing and other things will be covered at the new address – and also while they are in transit.
  • Handle all the paperwork ahead of time. Change the address for all your correspondence like bank statements, accounts and insurance notifications before you move, or preferably arrange to get them by email in future. Don’t forget the annual reminders you get for things like a TV licence, AA membership, magazine subscriptions or your post-box rental.



Anne-Marie Bamber is Norgarb Properties dedicated Home Loans Consultant. She has over 15 years’ experience in assisting clients with their Home Loan needs and has placed many happy families in their dream homes.

Contact her today for no cost stress-free home-buying.
Anne-Marie Bamber
Home Loans consultant
Tel: +27 (0)21 851 3568 | Fax: +27 (0)21 441 1494 | Cell: +27 (0)82 071 1665
E-mail: anne-marie.bamber@betterlife.co.za









MARCH IN THE GARDEN

Hello Harfielders!

While it's been a cooler Summer than in previous years in general, with a few scorching days here and there, if you're growing veg, make sure to water them sparingly and only in the evening or early morning so you don't burn their leaves.

Use lots of mulch to aid water retention - there should be no soil exposed to the sun, and a thick layer of mulch makes all the difference. One way to remember to do this is to imagine yourself in the sun – if your skin was exposed for hours, you'd burn badly! The earth is the same.

If you are tending to veggies, it's best to use water that's already been used once – from the shower, sink or washing machine (if you use biodegradable products). It's amazing how much water you can recycle if you get the right sized basins!

While water shortages aren't as dire as they have been in previous years, as resilient Cape Tonians, we need to maintain water-wise behaviors. It's remarkable how our relationship with water has irreversibly changed, and may we continue to find creative ways to be more resource-efficient beyond water, and to see waste itself as a resource. There's no better place to learn that lesson than in the garden.

On that fertile note, here's the plant list for March:
Bush and climber beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Calendula, Carrot, Chard/Spinach, Celery, Chinese cabbage, Chives, Chilli's, Kale, Kohlrabi, Globe artichokes, Leeks, Leaf mustard, Lettuce, Onion, Parsnip, Parsley, Potato, Radish, Rhubarb, Tomato

If you have surplus seeds or veggies, why not reach out on our Patchwork Facebook group to share or to do a swap..? It's a great way to connect with other local food growers in the area.

Happy growing!

Patchwork Group
Gabriella Garnett
076 2199 849 | gabriella.garnett@gmail.com

VACCINATIONS

As there has been an increasing concern over the  number of Parvovirus cases recently ,we thought it would be a good idea to look at vaccinations, how they work and why they are an essential part of your pet’s welfare.


Immunity – where does it start?
Colostrum - New-born puppies and kittens receive antibodies (passive immunity) from their mother’s first milk which gives them some immunity to disease. Unfortunately, various factors will influence how much maternal immunity each puppy or kitten will have. In time these passively acquired antibodies gradually deteriorate, while at the same time the puppy / kitten’s own immune system begins to  develop. While this is happening it can create what is known as the immunity gap leaving your puppy/kitten extremely vulnerable should it be exposed to disease.


It is in these early weeks that we begin a vaccination programme to maximize immunity.



HOW MANY? WHEN AND WHY?                           

The generally accepted vaccine program is:   
• Puppies - require 3 initial vaccinations for optimal protection at 6, 9 and 12 weeks of age
• Kittens- require 2 initial vaccinations at  9 and 12 weeks of age

Because maternal antibodies can interfere with the way in which your puppy or kitten’s immune system reacts to early vaccinations, it is extremely difficult to determine exactly when the vaccine will stimulate immunity. In an attempt to overcome this we vaccinate puppies and kittens at intervals during the first few months of their life. If maternal antibodies interfere with the first vaccinations the later ones will stimulate antibody production thereby protecting your puppy/kitten against the disease.

‘A vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, either viruses or bacteria. To do this, certain molecules from the pathogen must be introduced into the body to trigger an immune response. These molecules are called antigens, and they are present on all viruses and bacteria’.

Once your pet has received a vaccine, its immune system produces special substances called antibodies. These antibodies work against viruses or bacteria that cause disease.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR IMMUNITY TO DEVELOP?

VACCINES DO NOT WORK IMMEDIATELY!
Once a vaccine is given, the antigens (virus particles in the vaccine) need to be recognized, responded to, and remembered by the immune system.

• In most puppies, protection does not begin until five days post vaccination.
• Full protection from a vaccine usually takes up to fourteen days.

Why annual boosters?
Without costly laboratory tests it is impossible to determine your pet’s level of immunity to certain diseases. Therefore, adult dogs/cats are generally revaccinated annually in order to boost their immunity.

• Booster vaccinations help to remind the immune system to produce enough antibodies so they are ready should they be challenged.
• An annual examination at the time of booster vaccination can often identify problems the pet owner may not have been aware of. 

ONE IS NOT ENOUGH!


Immunity is complicated and not just a matter of a ‘quick shot’. We can also see that not only is one vaccination far from sufficient it could be detrimental to your pet’s immunity if you do not follow up with the full vaccination programme.

It is important to ensure that your puppy or kitten is in a safe environment until at least the second vaccination is given. This includes good human hygiene as many viruses can be passed through contact with infected shoes, clothing, blankets etc.

Certain dog breeds are especially susceptible to parvovirus such at Rottweilers and Boer bulls. But generally speaking it is better to ensure that any breed of puppy is fully vaccinated.

Fact:
Vaccination remains the single most effective method for protecting against infectious disease in healthy animals.

For more information on Parvovirus, click here.

CHOOSING A NEW SECURITY COMPANY?

“Choosing a new security company? Do your research before signing on the dotted line”

January is a time when a lot of people make decisions about current and potentially new service providers. If you are thinking of choosing a new security company protect your home or your business, it is important to do your research and ask the right questions.

“It is important to interrogate any new service provider so that you have absolute confidence that you are appointing the best possible company. You don’t want to leave it to an emergency situation to discover that this new company was not properly prepared or equipped,” says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.

The first question to ask, she says, is about the company’s registration credentials.

“The South African private security industry is very well regulated and all providers need to be registered with the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), among other bodies. By selecting a properly registered provider, you get extra peace of mind knowing that you are dealing with an ethical company that meets the high standards set for this industry,” says Hattingh.

Training and equipment is the next area you should focus on, especially if you start looking at the different fees charged by companies.

“Home and business security should never become a decision you make purely based on price. Have you asked for details about the kind of on-going on the job training that your company provides, and have they explained the tools of the trade (such as armour plated vehicles and Kevlar vests) that they supply to their officers,” says Hattingh.

In the same vein, she recommends also asking what kind of physical presence a company has in your area. Do they, for example, have dedicated vehicles and officers patrolling your suburb?

“Personal and business security has become a high-tech business. It means that you have to ask questions about technological value-adds too,” says Hattingh. This includes the use and deployment of measures such as License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras, home security automation options, and auto-dispatch systems to alert officers to any emergencies.

Hattingh lastly adds that no decision should be rushed, and that you should only put pen to paper once you have carefully studied the terms and conditions and you are satisfied with the answers you have been given.

“If you ask the right questions and do your homework properly, you should be able to sleep assured tonight knowing that you have appointed the best company to come to your aid when an emergency happens,” concludes Hattingh.


TRADITION OF LEAP YEAR


Valentine’s Day is upon us again, and this year’s Leap Year breaks with convention and permits women to propose to their loved one on 29th February!

But what can neuroscience tell us about such people who break
with tradition? By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.


Bachelor’s Day – February 29th – is an Irish tradition on what is called Leap Day, which, back in the day, gave women the opportunity to make the first move and initiate a dance with a man, and even propose to him! If the man refused to marry he was obliged to buy the woman a silk gown, a fur coat or a new pair of swanky gloves (so it’s worth a punt ladies!). With all the humour of this day aside, however, we must consider the courage it must have taken for women in those days to be so brazen about their desires for a man in their community. Especially when in those days people – particularly women - were expected to abide strictly to societal rules. And even though societal rules are not so strict today, there are still – rightly or wrongly - covert social expectancies for men and women. With all this in mind then, what sort of brain does it take for a person – man or woman – to take the brave step and break with tradition and choose not to conform?

According to psychology research, there are three types of conformity – compliance, identification,
and internalisation. Compliance is essentially non-conformity, and means that a person pretends to adhere to the group norms while privately maintaining personal beliefs. Identification is where a person – when in the presence of the group – genuinely agrees with the group but returns to their own beliefs when alone. Finally, internalisation is when a person both publically and privately adheres to the norms of the group – and in the worst extreme is a form of brain-washing or groupthink.


Compliance is quite rare, as research shows that in most cases people tend to bow to the pressure of gravitating towards the group norm – like sheep! For example, Mustafar Sherif showed that people who observed the autokinetic effect (when a dot appears to move on a screen, but is in fact not moving) would conform to the ‘groupthink’ that the dot had actually moved. Or Solomon Asch’s study showing that people would agree with an incorrect answer if it conformed to the group norm. Similarly, Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment of the 1970s showed that even participants who started out equal would change their beliefs as they internalised the group norms they were exposed to – in this case prisoners versus prison guards. Due to the aggressive behaviour of the participants who were assigned to be guards, and the unhealthy submissive behaviour of the participants assigned to be prisoners, Zimbardo had to discontinue the study. And this confomity phenomenon also occurs in children – as Sherif demonstrated in his Robber’s Cave study – where initially equal, friendly young boys at a summer camp slipped into conflictual behaviour between two arbitrary social groups. Sherif highlighted the fact that conformity is most likely to occur if there is competition for limited resources – one always wants to be a member of the winning team!

Modern-day neuroscientists can use high-tech brain imaging techniques to safely study the internal workings of the brain of those who tend not to conform. Studies have found that people who don’t conform tend to show activation in the amygdala, anterior cingulate and insular cortex – brain regions related to feelings of fear, bodily sensations and conflicting beliefs – feelings that are typically uncomfortable. This suggests that most people will tend to search for options to feel more comfortable such as being more agreeable, which often leads to conformity (even against their better judgement). But this still begs the question, what drives people to resist social conformity and live with the discomfort? Do they feel any discomfort at all, or do non-conformists actually enjoy the feeling of turning against social traditions? Perhaps most likely is that for some people it is more comforting not to conform when cognitive evaluations have proven the group norm to be unhealthy or detrimental in some way. We can remember the great many South African people who refused to conform to the immoral Apartheid regime by supporting the referendum in the early 1990s.

Neurocognitive studies can help us to understand what is going on with nonconformist types of people, and one clue is in the function of the prefrontal cortex – in a brain process called working memory. It seems that people with a larger working memory capacity (e.g. gained through innate brain development or deliberately with cognitive training) are able to hold in mind alternative strategies, instead of simply agreeing to abide by the prevailing view. By using one’s working memory it is possible to use one’s imagination to think of different ways of doing things. This is a great thing to do because otherwise nothing will change. And sometimes things have to change for the world to become a better place. It took Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk to use their cognitive abilities to create an alternative plan to change the Apartheid government. And it may take women to challenge the traditional roles of men on Leap Day and to remind new generations of women that there is equality between the sexes!

So this Leap Year, use your working memory to consider whether conformity is useful or not (sometimes it is!) – and most of all, enjoy the romance of Valentine’s Month this February Harfielders!

Dr Samantha Brooks is a UK neuroscientist in Harfield Village,
specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating
disorders to addiction. For more information you can contact

Samantha at: www.drsamanthabrooks.com







Click to read all previous articles by Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.