From the HVCID Committee: As of 1 March 2021 there will be a new Manager for the Harfield Village Community Improvement District (HVCID). Our previous Manager, Jenni Coleman, will be returning to her roots in the corporate property services world. We wish Jenni all the best and give sincere thanks to all the hard work and heart that she has put into the HVCID over the last 5 years. She will be missed.

And we would like to extend a very warm welcome to our new Manager, Jen Rowe. Jen, her husband, and two boys have lived in Harfield Village since they set up the Harfield Guest Villa in 1995, so she is no stranger to the neighborhood. Her other achievements include starting the Harfield Harriers Athletic Club, and her tree gifting company, Heartwood Trees. She is an animal lover, loves connecting with friends, running on the mountain, reading, and making a difference in some way or form. We are looking forward to the energy that Jen will bring to the Village through the HVCID.

As a reminder, the HVCID focusses on the safety of the Village, in partnership with Fidelity ADT.  We are a non-profit voluntary association.  You can reach us on admin @ or 081 412 6109.

Jen Rowe



The future of South Africa’s housing market is looking bright, as aspirant buyers between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most optimistic about the merits of investing in property.

According to the findings of the recently released Absa Homeowner Sentiment Index, this age group has the highest positive sentiment towards property investment in current market conditions. The feeling is overwhelmingly positive across other age groups too, and overall, 78% of respondents agreed that now is an appropriate time to invest in property. “This positive sentiment is being driven by the current lending environment, and the historic-low prime lending rate of 7%. The uptick of bond application activity experienced last year shows no sign of abating. In fact, BetterBond received a record volume of applications in December, which is usually a quieter buying period,” says Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond. “What has also been encouraging is the increased number of first-home buyers; many of whom will go on to become property investors as they expand their asset portfolio over time.”

TPN says that 87% of investors own two to four properties, while 11% own between five and nine properties. Investors are also getting younger, and the average age of first-home buyers applying for a bond through BetterBond is about 36. “Property has traditionally been viewed as a safe investment option, especially during challenging economic times. The low interest rates and assurance that they are unlikely to hit double digits in the next 24 months, has certainly bolstered this notion of property as an attractive investment opportunity,” adds Coetzee. Furthermore, the ability of a property investment to create wealth over time was cited as one of the main reasons for the increased confidence in the property market over the past nine months.

Coetzee says there are some things investors should bear in mind when applying for a bond. There is no limit to the number of bond applications one can submit, and in many cases joint and several applicants could be the deciding factor in securing a property as it makes it more affordable. With multiple applicants, all are jointly liable which means that the bank would be able to recover the loan amount from the remaining applicants, should one default. Adds Coetzee: “Investors are advised to pay off their primary residence first, if they have more than one bond, as no taxable income is generated from the ownership of this property.” This means that any costs related to the property cannot be deducted for income tax purposes. However, the costs associated with additional properties that generate a rental income are tax deductible.

“With many buyers being able to afford up to 30% more now than they would have been able to buy this time last year, when the prime lending rate was at 10%, there are plenty of opportunities for savvy investors to consolidate their asset portfolios,” concludes Coetzee.

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


Covid isn’t going to go away soon which means we still need to wear our masks and sanitise.  

You can stay safe while supporting ARO with these super trendy cat themed masks. 

Even better, you will receive a free 100ml hand sanitiser with each cat themed mask purchased.  

Click here to visit ARO’s online shop.


It's April already! 

The temperatures have definitely dropped in the morning and evening, and there are fewer daylight hours. The seasons are turning. 

As things cool down, it's a good time to start mulching your beds for Autumn and Winter, and to capitalise on the remaining warmth by getting some new seeds into the ground.

On that note, here's our plant list for April:

Broad beans, Beetroot, Brocoli, Cabbage, Calendula, Carrot, Chard/Spinach, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Chives, Chilli, Kale, Kohlrabi, Garlic, Globe Artichoke, Leek, Leaf Mustard, Lettuce, Onion, Parsnip, Parsley, Peas, Potato, Radish, Turnip

Stay warm and safe, and happy growing! 

Patchwork Group
Gabriella Garnett
076 2199 849 |


When was the last time you thought, ‘I should eat healthier’? Most people have thought this at one time or another, but what became of it? Did the thought disappear by the next day or did you make some changes?

All of our journeys in changing eating and lifestyle habits are different and depend on where we are in a series of stages of readiness for change. Behaviour change involves a lot of hard work and so it is important that you are truly ready to make a change. What this means is that you shouldn’t be forcing the change (doing it because you think you have to, and not because you want to), as this is not going to be very productive and will only set you up for failure.

The trans-theoretical model of change explains that there are five different stages of change that we move through when we are trying to introduce a new health behaviour into our lifestyle. The five different stages of change are:

1. Pre-Contemplation: At this stage you haven’t really thought about changing the way you eat and you do not intend to do so. You may also be denying the need for change in your eating behaviours. To be able to move to the next stage and change your eating habits, you need to truly understand the implications and risks that your current eating habits have on your health.

2. Contemplation: At this point you know that you need to make the change and you are seriously considering making the changes. You may think about the pros and cons of staying the same, versus changing. You also start thinking about reaching out for help and support and you may look for information online to help you decide about what you need to do to assist you in reaching your goal. For you to move to the next stage, it is necessary that you understand that the benefits of change outweigh the risks of staying the same.

3. Preparation: This stage involves planning to make the change. It includes reaching out for help and support and figuring out why you have failed at your attempts in adopting healthier eating habits in the past so that you can change your approach to one that will ensure long term success. This plan will either set you up for success or failure. This is therefore a very important stage and requires that you spend enough time planning exactly how you are going to change your eating behaviours.

4. Action: This is the point where you start putting the plans set in the previous stage into action. It involves you actively starting to engage in healthy behaviours.

5. Maintenance: This is the stage where you begin to achieve long lasting results. The behaviour becomes a part of your daily life and relapsing back to your old eating habits and behaviours is prevented. Maintaining these changes involves planning ahead for potential problems or obstacles that could get in your way of you achieving your goal, as well as how to deal with mistakes. This could involve planning and learning how to handle eating out at social events for example or how to bounce back after a binge.

Diet culture has unfortunately made many people form very damaging beliefs around food and what the definition of healthy and unhealthy behaviour is. There is so much misinformation out there on the internet and social media that everyone is exposed to on a daily basis. So when we see a client we need to assess where they are in their psychological capacity, which will determine how long it will take to correct their perceptions around food and what it means to be healthy.

Figuring out where you fit in the series is important because it gives us an indication about the types of strategies and techniques that you may need at a specific time point. That way the personalized support that you receive will help you move through the different levels of change and ultimately reach your health and wellness goals. Keep in mind though that each person moves through the different stages at their own pace with some staying in the earlier stages longer than others. This is ok. What matters is that you keep moving forward in the right direction. We can provide you with the continued support to do so through one on one counselling in person or from the comfort of your own home via zoom meetings.

Kim Hofmann RD(SA)

Cell: 084 206 2715





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Whilst many young adults prefer the sanctity of exchanging vows and entering into a marriage, more and more couples opt for less traditional forms of commitment and choose simply to live together – to cohabit.

The term cohabitation refers to a couple living together as spouses, regardless of gender, without entering into a civil marriage – and hence without the application of the familiar patrimonial consequences that follow from a civil marriage.

What happens in the event that the relationship dissolves, whether as a result of a break-up or death? The spouse(s) is now faced with questions regarding ownership of assets acquired jointly, liability for debts, rent, cellphone accounts and a host of other issues. Then only to learn that, contrary to the consequences of a civil marriage that is regulated by specific legislation, there is no “law of cohabitation”. No amount of time spent living together will convert the cohabitation relationship into one where legal rights and duties automatically flow from the relationship.

How does one address this?  Couples who cohabit are encouraged to conclude a Cohabitation Agreement or Domestic Partnership Agreement to arrange their rights and obligations towards each other. Such agreement records the parties’ wishes regarding finances, the joint household and any assets acquired individually or jointly whilst they are in a long-term relationship. Should the relationship dissolve, couples are able to do so with certainty regarding the patrimonial consequences.  

Another important document to consider in conjunction with the above agreement is a will. A cohabitation agreement cannot regulate inheritance in the event of death. In order to ensure that your assets devolve to the person(s) intended, it is vital for both parties to ensure that they have a valid will in place.

For more information, contact us on or email us at 


It’s Human Rights Day on Sunday 21st March in South Africa.  What can neuroscience tell us about how we accept these rights so that we can live in a fair society, and why do we sometimes forget these rules?

By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.

On the 21st March 1960, apartheid police killed 69 South Africans who were protesting about the unjust pass laws that controlled the movement of non-white people (a label thankfully defunct since the end of apartheid rule in April 1991).  Finally, after complicated talks, the new South Africa emerged with the Human Rights Commission Act (1994) and a Bill of Rights admired around the world. We now remember this atrocious day in the Sharpeville township – as Human Rights Day. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) reminds us of rights owed to all citizens of South Africa, pertaining to equality, dignity, life, freedom and security, lack of slavery, privacy, freedom of: belief, expression, non-violent demonstration, association, politics, citizenship, movement, residence, trade, labour relations, environment, property, housing, health, children, education, language and culture, information, and quite a few other things!  But the take-home message of the Bill of Rights is that we should all expect a good quality of life and expect the same to be granted to fellow South Africans – or indeed to foreign nationals who contribute to the quality of life of South Africans. How then does the brain allow us to keep in mind these important, basic human rights, and why do we sometimes forget?

When I first arrived in Cape Town, in September 2012, as a young(ish) neuroscientist researcher, I was impressed by how much things seemed to have changed since I learned about apartheid in the 1980s at school in the UK.  But then I started seeing graffiti on various bridges along the highways that said “Remember Marikana” and I subsequently learned that 34 mine-workers were shot and killed by police at the LonMin mine for protesting for R12,500 minimal monthly salary.  The massacre – in modern post-apartheid society – was compared to the Sharpeville massacre.  It got me thinking as a foreign, white, female visiting the country to conduct research with South African locals to develop neuroscientific evidence to improve treatment for tik addiction, why do these human rights abuses always lurk under the surface?  And now, nearly ten years’ on, what have we learned?  

In the brain, it boils down to morality – how our brains calculate human right, from human wrong – but whether we are born with this ability, or whether it is learned, is a difficult question.  In a recent review of neuroscientific literature, Pascual and colleagues found that various studies reported similar brain regions involved in different moral decision-making.  For example, orbital and ventromedial prefrontal cortices (the bit of brain at the top of the nose, between/above the eyes) are implicated in emotionally driven moral decisions.  However, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (near the temples, above the ears) appears to moderate the emotional response. So, when people feel emotions flaring – like when people shoot to steal because they need the money to feed a family, or when police feel such intense fear at the prospect of an angry crowd losing control – the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex becomes overwhelmed.  And it is likely that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex helps us to remember the constitution and the Bill of Rights!  When the heat of the moment has died down, we all – if we’re honest with ourselves – return to our default mode, which is dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-driven, reminding us that we don’t want to see our fellow citizens suffer.  

Acting on human right versus human wrong is also about survival – we have an inbuilt neural mechanism to ensure that we – ourselves and our families – live well and prosper.  So, when there is poverty, or competition for resources, famine, unequal wealth – people unfortunately are hard-wired in the brain to fight to protect their assets, or fight to escape poverty.  Interestingly, the insular cortex in the brain is activated during moral decisions that coincide with empathy – so when we can feel the pain and deprivation in another, our brains activate in a different way.  But Sigmund Freud – the famous psychoanalyst cleverly pointed out over 100 years ago (without all the neuroscientific gadgets and brain-reading machinery we have today) – our brain does everything it can to avoid pain, and chase pleasure.  So, when we live in a society that is desperately trying to unhook itself from the shackles of the apartheid past, where painful poverty continues to pervade, and is worsened by the recent pandemic – we may be hardwired to avoid it, to not engage with it, even when it conflicts with our default mode of thinking, to want human rights for all.

However, it does appear that there could be some moral light at the end of the tunnel – despite the
poverty-deepening pandemic the world has just experienced.  First, our default mode (when emotions have rescinded) is dorsolateral prefrontal moral thinking – we feel better when our fellow human beings enjoy the same human rights as we do (everybody feels shock and disgust by Sharpeville and Marikana).  And second, if it is emotional processes that weaken the moral compass in us –that reduces our exercising and protecting of human rights – then we have a clue that can help us to strengthen our moral compass and reduce our impulsive emotional responses.  It may be difficult not to feel raging emotions when living in a township without decent amenities, especially when we see others with more.  And it may be difficult to avoid the burning shame of seeing people living in squalid conditions alongside us.  But if we can dampen these emotions, and engage our prefrontal moral systems in the brain, perhaps people living in worse conditions can think of ingenious (legal) ways for themselves and their families to escape the poverty trap – as some have done, such as Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela who grew up in Langa.  And those living in better conditions can escape the trap of shame and think of ingenious (legal) ways to equalise the human rights enjoyed by others.

So, on this year’s Human Rights Day – more important than most since the ravages of the pandemic – let’s keep our emotions tempered and use our prefrontal systems to think of at least one way to strengthen the lives of others, to prevent human rights abuses from happening in the beautiful country that is South Africa.

Dr Samantha Brooks is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating disorders to addiction.  For more information you can contact Samantha at: