Strength Training for Athletes

Attention runners, cyclists, athletes:
You may think that you don’t need resistance training, but you are likely wrong (or at the very least missing out). Resistance/weight training will make you stronger, which will translate into better power output - this means you can go harder and faster. It can also strengthen up your stabilising muscles (core, hips, shoulders, etc) which may prevent you from getting injured. Do I have your attention? Good.

The Benefits of Strength Training

When you run (on the trail or the football pitch), you teach your body to get better at it. This is called the “Specificity Principle”. If it’s an endurance sport, your nerves, muscles, energy metabolism, and cardiovascular system get better at endurance (and vice versa for sprinters). But an unfortunate thing starts to happen - both the time you can spend and your ability to voluntarily push yourself harder on the road start to reach a plateau (and so does your performance). You’ve started to reach a ceiling on muscular endurance (oxygen/energy transport) that won’t respond to the “Specificity Principle” as easily as it used to. But if you can’t drive any harder, you CAN build a stronger engine.

What does that mean? It means that on the spectrum of sports performance, so far your muscle strength is a relatively untapped “weak link” - you still have a huge amount of potential that hasn’t been directly developed. And strength is “the tide that raises all ships” - by increasing power output you should have improved endurance. Moreover, increased muscle strength is beneficial to your stability. If the muscles that brace your knees, hips, core, and shoulders get stronger, you should make yourself more resistant to injuries. This effect is seen with general strength training (squats & pullups), but also with specific stability training e.g. planks & big rubber balls.

A Guide to Strength Training for Athletes
Entire sections of libraries have been devoted to this subject, but I’ll try to be brief and practical. Some general concepts:
  It’s important to train not just the muscles specific to your sport, but the whole body - it works as a chain and we want every link made of steel not sausage
 Stick mostly to the “big” exercises e.g. squats instead of leg extensions -  they usually offer the best return on investment (of time and energy) in the long run
 you will need to moderate your weekly training volume (e.g. distance run, number of sessions, etc.) to incorporate your strength training - avoid burning out like a dropped Citi Golf
 Learn proper technique! If that means reading a book like Starting Strength (Rippetoe), watching some YouTube videos of trainers like Bret Contreras, or getting a trainer for a few months, then do it. It will make your training SAFER and MORE EFFECTIVE.

To Get Started
I would suggest doing resistance training two days per week (that can increase with necessity & experience) and training your whole body each session - this means everything gets enough work without being OVER worked.

1. Start off with a general warm-up - this can be a bit of cardio and bodyweight exercises or a few yoga postures for 5-10min.
2.  Pick 3-4 main/primary exercises to strengthen the most necessary movement patterns: SQUAT (e.g. a squat or lunge), BEND (e.g. a back extension or straight-leg deadlift), PUSH (e.g. a pushup or dumbbell press), and PULL (e.g. pullups or dumbbell rows) - with necessity and experience I’d advise adding moves for TWIST (e.g. cable twist) and CARRY (e.g. farmer’s walks)
3. Do 1-2 warm-up sets with a light resistance, then choose a challenging weight for 1-2 ‘work' sets of between 8-15 repetitions -- the set ends when you can’t get another rep with good technique.
4. Next, perform 2-3 secondary or stability moves for the ‘core', hips, and/or shoulders as is appropriate for your sport e.g. runners should do some hip work and a bit of core, swimmers should do some shoulder work and some planks, etc.
5. Finish up with a bit of stretching and possibly foam rolling for any tight areas.

Every week you should try to increase the weight used or repetitions performed - this is how you make progress. Just don’t be a dumbass and try double the weight you used last - an increase of 5% is usually plenty. As you gain experience, start working in other rep ranges (see chart above) to focus on specific aspects of performance.

Final Thoughts
 Strength training is to support your sport: don’t go so hard that it makes you too tired to perform - what’s the point?
 Don’t overload certain patterns: if you are a throwing athlete (e.g. cricket, waterpolo) there is no need to risk injury by doing 8 different shoulder exercises
Change it up for variety, but not TOO often: no need to change the exercise you’re using every session - never getting used to an exercise actually deprives you of a lot of the benefits (but maybe change things up every 6-8 weeks).

Enough talk - get out there and lift something!


In today’s unequal, materialistic society where poverty is rife, psychopaths are all around us!  They don’t have to be violent, criminally-minded types (although they often are!) but can be fully-functioning, self-made individuals. What then, is a modern-day psychopath, and how do their brains differ from the ‘norm’?

By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.

We probably all have a psychopath or two in our midst (think of a colleague, a friend, or even a
spouse); we might even be one ourselves, or at least have elements of psychopathy in our character! Commonly, psychopaths are men – as psychopathic traits are linked to testosterone levels and aggression – but they can also be found in women.  Should we be afraid of a psychopath?  Or can we learn from the potential wisdom of a ‘functioning’ psychopath that has enabled their traits to survive, thrive and even shape echelons of society? What are the traits of a psychopath, and where are they based in the brain?  These questions can be answered by modern neuroscience and psychological theories of personality.  But before we delve into these dark questions, keep in mind some of the most infamous psychopaths in history: Niccolo Machiavelli, Adolf Hitler, Hannibal Lecter, Jeffrey Dahmer, Joseph Mengele and perhaps Donald Trump. Think also of the Dionysian, reward-seeking brokers who made huge profits by selling unsustainable, high-interest loans to vulnerable first-time buyers, contributing to America’s sub-prime housing market crash and the global financial crisis in 2008.  These folks have in common an element of charm, persuasion, exploiting vulnerability, aggressive determination, and in some, a killer instinct.

Should we be afraid of a psychopath?

Psychopathic behaviour is often referred to as Machiavellian, named after the Italian politician, Niccolo Machiavelli, who lived during the Renaissance period from 1469 to 1527. Machiavelli appeared narcissistic - concerned only with his own interests – particularly in terms of remaining in power.  In his book, The Prince, he documented that immoral behavior can often – at least in politics – be justified by the end goal.  The book was heavily criticized because it appeared to provide recommendations for tyrants to stay in power no matter what the cost to individuals.  Those who follow Machiavellian principles will often hide behind convincing charm while exercising manipulation, deception and exploitation of others to achieve personal goals. The good news is that while a high percentage of killers appear to be psychopaths, not all psychopaths are killers – and in some professions, it might even be beneficial to be a ‘functioning’ psychopath.  Yet, it pays to remember the old adage: if it appears too good to be true, it usually is!  Under these circumstances, it is best to be cautious and vigilant.  And remember the song about not smiling at a crocodile - that you can’t get friendly with a crocodile, because he’s imagining how well you’ll fit within his skin!

Should we learn from the potential wisdom of a psychopath that has enabled their traits to survive, thrive and perhaps even shape today’s society?

For many reasons, psychopathic tendencies continue to remain and thrive in certain echelons of our modern society; the tenacity of a ‘good’ psychopath enables growth and the achievement of beneficial goals. Think of a firefighter, a soldier, a surgeon, a doctor, a lawyer – all professionals with strong emotion control that tend to score high on questionnaires such as the Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI). However, while functioning psychopaths are thinking of the bigger picture, in contrast, dangerous psychopaths are usually in gratification pursuit mode, able to put the blinkers on so as not to react emotionally and be distracted from their self-interested goals.  Both functioning and dangerous psychopaths experience less fear than the general population, and as such will repeatedly take risks to obtain hero status (functioning psychopath) or self-gratification at the expense of others (dangerous psychopath). Like a Great White Shark with dead, black eyes searching for its prey, a psychopath will relentlessly pursue a goal. Interestingly, recent neuroscience suggests that psychopaths do not lack empathy, but rather can expertly read a person’s feelings from overt bodily signals and little give-away signs (a nervous twitch in the face, a vulnerable way of walking) that is stored in memory for future exploitation. That psychopathy has maintained a stranglehold on the human character is perhaps due to the relentless pursuit of self-sustaining reward, and the development of brain circuits that support excellent memory and emotion control.

What are psychopathic traits and where are they based in the brain?

Psychopathy is relatively rare, and this may be due to the fact that collectively, members of society remember – and punish by example – previous bad behaviour. Only between 0.5 and 1.5 % of the general population exhibit high psychopathic scores; this figure rises to approximately 25% in any given prison population of ‘non functioning’ individuals.  Alarmingly, psychopathic traits are also found in modern-day business leaders at the rate of about 1 in 5, suggesting that some professional fields may thrive – and are shaped by – the guidance of psychopaths.  Empathy – an ability to understand another person’s feelings - is present in a psychopath, but they just don’t care very much.  Ruthlessly focussed self-obsession is key, coinciding with a lack of cross-talk between the prefrontal cortex (shown in blue with the red arrow of ‘Jim’s’ brain) and the emotional centres of the brain. Some neuroscientists have actually trucked an MRI scanner into notorious prisons in America to scan the brains of the most extreme psychopaths. The findings? Extreme psychopaths have reduced grey matter volume in the prefrontal cortex (the forehead) and in the temporal poles (above the ears). In terms of brain activation, when thinking about their own pain, psychopaths activate typical emotional and sensory regions, including the insula, amygdala and somatosensory cortex. But when viewing pain inflicted on others, these regions are quiet, but their reward centres light up – suggesting that psychopaths have an innate sense of Schadenfreude – or getting pleasure from the displeasure of others.

The take-home message?  Don’t take a psychopath home with you!

Dr Samantha Brooks is a neuroscientist at the UCT Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating disorders to addiction.  For more information on neuroscience at UCT and to contact Samantha, see Note: Images royalty free, courtesy of

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

How to handle a break-up with your bond

How to handle a break-up with your bond


Every buyer goes through a “honeymoon” period when their monthly bond repayment seems a small price to pay for the pleasures of home ownership.

But the romance can sour rapidly if that instalment becomes a burden - which can happen quite easily if your work hours get cut back, you really have to buy a new car or an addition to the family puts new demands on your household budget.

“And the problem is not going to go away by itself,” says Rudi Botha, CEO of leading bond originator BetterBond. “You need to acknowledge it and assess your options for dealing with it, as soon as possible.”

The signs that affordability is becoming a problem include making your bond repayment later and later each month, cutting back the repayment of other debts so you can afford the bond repayment, or perhaps even “borrowing” from your credit card or overdraft facility to make up a shortfall on the instalment.

If this is your situation, he says, your first step is to work out how long your cash “crunch” is likely to last. An interest rate decrease may be on the way, or you may soon be due for a salary increase. Perhaps you’ll be able to ease the situation quite quickly by cutting family spending, by taking a part-time second job to pay off your short-term debts, or even by getting a new, better paid, full-time job.

The second step is to stay calm, even if it looks as though you’ll be in a bind for quite some time. Take charge and ask your lender about options for lowering your monthly home loan repayment. You may be able to extend the term of the loan, for example, or “cap” it for a while and only pay interest until your financial circumstances improve. If you have owned your home for quite some time and have good equity, you may even be able to refinance the loan at a lower interest rate.

Thirdly, says Botha, you may decide that you really can’t manage the bond repayments at this stage and should rather sell your home, pay off your debts and start over.

“If that is the case you should seek professional help through one of the bank assisted-sale programmes to get the property sold at the best price and in the shortest possible time. This will enable you to keep your credit record intact and maintain control of your financial destiny.”

Whatever you do, he notes, you should not just stop paying your instalments and wait to see what happens. “The last thing the bank wants to do is repossess your home, but once the letters of demand start coming, it will be difficult to convince anyone that you are taking your obligations seriously and that any plan you have for making up the late payments is actually workable.

“And if you let your home be repossessed, you will lose whatever equity you have built up in the property and your credit record will be ruined for years. What is more, if the property is then sold at auction for less than you owe the bank, you will still be liable for the difference.

“However, if you are realistic about your financial circumstances and quick to make use of all the help that is available if you find yourself in trouble, you will soon be back on your feet and ready to buy your next home.”
Issued by etc

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

Humane mole control

Humane Ways to Deal with Moles
Don’t make mountains out of literal mole hills. In fact, if you have a mole issue, take it as a compliment - it means there’s something good going on in your soil and an abundance of earthworms. Although having moles might be a compliment to your delicious soil, they can damage your garden. Here we’ll take a look at moles and the most humane ways to deter them.

Firstly, you need to determine if the mole is indeed becoming a pest. Moles have good qualities too, they turn the soil by aerating it, creating better drainage and they eat slugs and other insects which may be destroying your garden. If, however, the mole is digging up and ruining your flowers and lawn, you may want to consider helping him find a new home. 

Secondly, look for active tunnels. When you see a mole tunnel, indicated by the typical mole hill, stomp on it to cave it in. If it has been restored the next day, then your mole is definitely living there.
Here are a few ways to remove the mole issue without actually killing the mole:
1. Catch and Release
Catch the mole by flooding the tunnel. Locate a mole hill and insert a garden hose - this will flood the tunnel and cause the mole to surface. Gently collect the mole in a bucket or container and release it somewhere safe…preferably not your enemy’s garden. It might also be easier to have two people to do this, one holding the hose and the other to catch the mole as he surfaces.
2. Plants
There are a few plants which moles are not very fond of. Garlic and Chocolate Llilies have proven to be effective in deterring them. They also don’t like the smell of Daffodils or Marigolds, so you could use these as a hedge around your lawn. Although this might not get rid of the moles completely, you can rest assured that they won’t go near these plants.
3. Build a Barrier
There are a few ways to do this. The first step is to dig a trench around the area you wish to protect. The trench should be about 60cm deep and 20 – 30cm wide.
The second step is to fill the trench with gravel, clay or mesh, then cover it back up. The gravel/clay/mesh will stop moles from digging through.
4. Homemade Repellent
Castor oil is the base for both of these natural repellents. You can simply pour castor oil into the mole’s tunnel as this will upset his stomach and discourage him from hanging around, or you could make the following mixture - ¼ cup castor oil, 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid and 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper. Pop it in the blender to make sure it is mixed well. Add 6 tablespoons of water and blend again. Keep this solution in a sealed container until you see a new mound appear, then add 2 tablespoons of the solution to about 4 litres of water and mix well. Take this solution and either use a spray bottle to spray it over the mounds of dirt and the surrounding grass or simply pour the whole lot down the mole holes. This will change the taste of the insects and the mole will gladly move on to scrounge up grubs elsewhere. For this to be effective you should re-apply this homemade repellent every two days and again after it rains.
5. Good Vibrations
This method is pretty effortless! Simply place a few wind- or battery-operated spinners along the mole’s paths and he will be happy to move elsewhere. Moles don’t like being disturbed and the vibrations from the spinners will be just like that noisy neighbour whose bass keeps you up all night.
So there you have it, 5 ways to get rid of moles so that you both can live a happy, peaceful life.

Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen who specialises in the Claremont area, shares some household tips and handy home hints with you every month. Read more of his articles here. []

Andre Ter Moshuizen: 082 602 1367 | | []

May in the Garden

While there isn't any substantial rain in sight yet, things are still growing!

Mulch is a great way to help your plants make the most of the water you give them, as it prevents some of the evaporation. Autumn is the perfect time for mulching as there are plenty leaves available! Rather than throw them out, layer them into your compost, use them on top of your garden beds or in your pots.

For those of you keen on planting veg this month, here's May's list: Broad Beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Calendula, Chard, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Chives, Chilli Pepper, Kohlrabi, Garlic, Leek, Leaf Mustard, Lettuce, Onion, Parsley, Parsnip, Peas, Potato, Radish.


  • 500 - 600g broccoli
  • Salt and milled black pepper
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded
  • 2 – 5mls curry powder
  • 2 – 5mls turmeric
  • 10mls boiling water
  • 125mls thick mayonnaise
  • 125mls buttermilk
  • Slivered toasted almonds


Cut away lower tough end of broccoli stalks. Chop stems coarsely and break off florets. Poach stems in a little boiling water until softened. Add florets and cook until just tender keeping lid of saucepan tilted (this retains the bright colour). When just cooked, but not wilted drain, spoon into salad bowl and season.

Cut pepper into thin strips. Pour boiling water over leeks and pepper to blanch, stand for a few minutes, drain and spoon on top of broccoli. Put curry powder and turmeric in a cup, pour over the boiling water and stand for 5 minutes, then stir into mayonnaise mixed with buttermilk. Pour over vegetables and sprinkle generously with almonds. May be chilled for an hour or two before serving. Serves 6.
Estate Agent
Cell: +27 (0)82 846 0739 | Office: +27 (0)21 674 1120 | Fax: +27 (0)21 774 4927
Focus Areas: Kenilworth & Claremont Village

Tap or Bottled Water? Still or Sparkling? Flavoured or Vitamin? Which one is the Best?

We all know we should drink 1½ to 2 litres of water per day, but which water is best.  Does it have to be tap water, or can I rather drink the bottled water.  Can I drink sparkling water?  And the flavoured waters taste so much better, could I use those instead.  Better yet, the mineral water must give me some added benefits, is that one best?

Water is the best hydration liquid, but there are quite a few varieties to choose from:

Tap water undergoes treatment which ensures it is free of harmful micro-organisms and contaminants and is therefore perfectly safe to drink.  South Africa’s national standard of water quality compares well with the World Health Organisation standards.

Bottled water is also a good choice.  However, most people choose bottled water because they believe that it is safer and healthier than tap water.  The regulations for bottled water are not as strict as those for tap water as FDA rules often don’t have the same prohibitions that municipal water has.  It has also been stated that 40% of bottled water originates from the tap, with added minerals or filtration!

Sparkling water is carbonated with carbon dioxide under pressure.  This will cause the body no harm, but may produce a small amount of flatulence and possibly gastric distension.  If those symptoms don’t occur when you drink sparkling water, then this water is just as good substitute to still water for some variety.

What about cold water versus warm water.  There is no difference once the water reaches your stomach, so if you like it ice cold in summer and boiling hot in winter, make sure you serve yourself the water in a way that will make you drink more, not less!

Flavoured and vitamin waters are the one’s you need to be careful of.  The reason they taste so good is because they have added sugar (yes, even the vitamin water!)  The amount of sugar is equivalent to 8 teaspoons of sugar or 2 slices of bread!  This makes them very ‘expensive’ from a calorie perspective.  If you are trying to lose weight you need to be careful not to drink extra calories.  But even if you are not trying to lose weight, these waters give you nothing but energy (no extra vitamins, minerals and other goodness, unless added), so they would not be the best nutritional choice for you either.  Some of the flavoured waters use sweeteners instead of sugar to sweeten the product.  From a calorie perspective, these would be absolutely fine to have occasionally.

Bottom line, we need to drink enough water in a day, so whether you prefer tap or bottled, still or sparkling, warm or cold, just make sure you drink it.  And enjoy it, as this is a habit you need to keep for life!

The number of glasses of fluid you need in a day = your weight, divided by 10, plus 2

Kim Hofmann RD(SA)
Phone: 021 674 4666
Cell: 084 206 2715

To spay or not to spay

To spay or not to spay- is it really a question? This month’s article will focus on sterilization. Why we do it, when we do it, what the procedure entails and the potential long-term effects it can have on your pet?

What is sterilization?

Sterilization is the surgical removal by a qualified Veterinary surgeon of the reproductive organs of your pet.

In the female it is referred to as spaying and a complete ovariohysterectomy is performed. This means that the ovaries and the uterus are removed during the surgery

In the male it is called castration and  involves the removal of the testicles. Both procedures require a general anaesthetic.

Although spaying is probably one of the most common surgeries performed by the Veterinarian it remains a major abdominal surgical procedure and is always undertaken seriously and with the utmost care. On rare occasions complications can arise and it is important to discuss the procedure fully with your Vet.

Will it Change My Pets Behaviour?

Although the removal of the ovaries and testes result in the normal hormone processes disappearing, the personality of your pet often improves after surgery. Males typically lose their aggressive dominance and females will no longer come into season, a time that can be trying for both owner and pet.

What are the benefits, if any, to sterilizing my pet?

Although there are numerous advantages (listed below) to sterilizing your pet. The most important one is that- it is the most effective method of stopping indiscriminate breeding which results in the overpopulation of dogs and cats.

‘Approximately 1 million dogs and cats are euthanised per year in South Africa only. The shelters do NOT want to do it, but they have no other option.’


Health benefits In Females include:
  • Prevents the development of false pregnancy which is a common condition in unspayed females 
  • Prevents pyometra – In this condition the uterus becomes infected and fills with pus. This can be a life-threatening condition and immediate surgical intervention is required.
  • Prevents the development of mammary tumours.
  • Eliminates the possibility of the development of cancer in the uterus and ovaries
  • The instinct to mate when the female comes into ‘heat’ often results in the female trying to run way or escape from a safe environment.
  • Prevents the contraction of venereal diseases
  • No unwanted litters. 

Health Benefits in Males Include:
  • Sterilization can help reduce aggressive behaviour 
  • Reduces territorial marking (particularly in male cats) 
  • Reduces the need to fight for territory 
  • Reduces dominant behaviour 
  • Can help to reduce anxiety and males remain much calmer 
  • Prevents testicular tumours, perianal hernias, prostate cysts and tumours among others 
  • Prevents the contraction of transmissible venereal tumours (TVT’s).

Sterilization can be a great help to some behavioural problems, BUT it does not change the animals inherent character.

When Should I Sterilize My Pet?

Many welfare organisations now sterilize puppies and kittens from as early as 8 weeks old.

This practice has been used in the USA and other countries throughout the world since the mid 1980’s. Many studies have been undertaken regarding the effects of early sterilization on the development of puppies and kittens and all have had very positive results.

However, in private veterinary practice the advice given is usually to spay or neuter your pet between the ages of 5-6 months depending on the breed and development of the animal.

But What About….?

There are many strange ideas lurking out there about sterilizing your pet - its myth busting time!

I am depriving my male animal of its’ sex life!-  This is a common objection from owners as to why their male dog or cat should not be neutered. The truth is the animal only has a desire to reproduce and is not sexually driven. It mates simply to continue the blood line.

My pet will put on weight after sterilization – Your pet will no longer need the same amount of calories once it is sterilized as it metabolism slows down. So as long as you adjust the quantity your pet eats this won’t happen.

My dog won’t be such a good watch dog – sterilization will not change your dog’s character or its feelings of wanting to protect you.

My female dog needs to have at least one season.  Research has shown that your dog is 20% more likely to suffer from mammary tumours when being spayed after a first season.

It was then discovered with further scientific research that if the bitch was spayed before her first heat the incidence of mammary tumours was eliminated entirely, so the ‘norm’ became to spay just before the first heat which is around 6 - 8 months of age.’

My female dog/cat should have at least one litter!  NO! NO! NO!  There are absolutely no reasons, either physiological or psychological, for your pet to have a litter.

Follow this link to read an interesting article:

‘Early sterilization …. takes on a new importance when we realize that some 56% of dogs and pups entering shelters are killed.

What about side effects?

Occasionally problems do arise after sterilization. The most common are problems with the skin wound usually from excessive licking, but these are easily rectified. It is possible for a female dog to suffer from urinary incontinence later in her life, but this is easily and inexpensively treated.

So now you know Why you should sterilize your pet , next month we will go into more detail about what you can expect when your pet is heading to theatre .





47 Kenilworth Road, Cape Town
Telephone: 021-671-5018

Buy smaller and buy sooner


First-time buyers typically need to save for at least three years to afford the deposit on a home, and the VAT and fuel price increases announced in this year’s Budget are going to make it even more difficult for them to reach that goal.

“And as home prices continue to rise, they may feel like they are never going to get there, especially since they will also need cash to pay bond registration, legal and transfer fees,” says Rudi Botha, CEO of BetterBond, SA’s biggest bond originator.

“However, it is never a good idea to try to buy a home without a deposit, and there is another way for prospective buyers to shorten the saving process.”

The BetterBond statistics* show that the average home price currently being paid by first-time buyers is R797 000, with the average deposit being R91 000 – or about 11,4% of the purchase price.

In addition, he says, the most recent BankservAfrica figures show that the average take-home pay in South Africa is now R14 000 a month, so even a couple who are able to save 10% of their total earnings every month (R2800) will need almost three years (32,5 months) to save up the R91 000.

“Most will of course take longer than that even if their salaries increase in the interim, because their rent will probably also go up, along with the cost of food, transport, utilities and healthcare, and then there are always those emergencies that disrupt the plans of even the most diligent savers.”

But the answer, notes Botha, is not to give up on the idea of paying a sizeable deposit, because this will not only improve their chances of being approved for a bond but could also mean that they qualify for a lower interest rate. And a lower interest rate means more affordable monthly repayments plus big savings on the total cost of a home over the lifetime of the bond.

“The real answer for those who are really keen to get into the property market is to reset their sights and buy a less expensive home as a starting point. By doing this they will lower the amount they need as a deposit and quickly be able to replace their monthly rent payment with a bond repayment on an asset that is increasing in value.

“They should then also be able to divert what they were saving for a deposit into their home loan account and build up extra equity in the property that can be used, in a just a few years’ time, to help them ‘trade-up’ to a bigger and better home without having to stress about raising a big enough deposit.”

Issued by etc

*The BetterBond statistics represent 25% of all residential bonds being registered in the Deeds Office and are thus a reliable indicator of the state of South Africa’s residential property market.

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

Condom Use

A recent study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)  has revealed that condom use in South Africa has declined since 2012.  Condom use is essential for reducing the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases, such as HIV, and preventing unwanted pregnancy.  But in that crucial moment, how can the brain be better employed to remember to use a condom?

By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.

As the French would say, life is not worth living without joie de vivre – which in English means, exuberant enjoyment of life! If we are lucky, according to some religious texts, we may live for “three score years and ten” – a score being 20 years. And so, to really enjoy those precious seventy years (or more!), we must try to strike a happy balance between exuberance and sensible behaviour.  Living only for pleasure without checks and balances can lead us down the opposite path of disease, with the risk of encountering maladies such as obesity from over-eating and HIV from risky sexual behaviour.  Both over-eating and risky sexual behaviour are impulse control problems.  Remembering to say no to the third helping of food, or thinking about buying – and using – a condom, are decisions rooted in our brain’s ability to regulate immediate, tantalising distractions.  With the brain processes of impulse control in mind, what can we learn from neuroscience about how to go on enjoying life while avoiding risky behaviours and remember to use a condom?

Billy Connolly, the British (Scottish) out-spoken comedian once quipped – about the withdrawal method of birth control – that it would take a herd of wild horses to stop him mid-coitus!  His funny skit perfectly emphasised just how powerful human sexual desire can be, and how difficult it is to remember to be sensible in those moments of exuberant enjoyment of life! Using a condom then, is no mean feat, and might explain why the presence of this latex friend is growing conspicuously absent in South African society.  However, comedy and joie de vivre aside, our forgetting to invite the prophylactic to the party poses a serious threat to our achieving a healthy, disease-free three score years and ten.  And so it makes sense to find ways to use our brains more effectively, so that one can both have the cake and eat it.

From where in our brains does the feeling of sexual desire stem?  As with most rewarding experiences, sexual behaviour, and it’s climax, involves a huge release of dopamine – the brain’s pleasure and motivating neurotransmitter – into the old part of the brain called the limbic system.  This system – sometimes called the basal ganglia – is a network of fibres and regions at the heart of the brain.  Interestingly, when the level of dopamine sloshing around the basal ganglia rises, the front part of the brain receives a signal via a gate known as the anterior cingulate cortex.  The messenger carrying dopamine knocks on this gate to tell the prefrontal cortex to open up and join the dopamine party (think of a house party spilling out on to the street!).  If the prefrontal cortex isn’t busy doing much, it will probably join in, and forget about its other responsibilities!  However, if the prefrontal cortex is busy thinking about other things (such as which jacket pocket the condom is in, or which shop is still open to buy a packet), it will lock the gate so that the dopamine messenger can’t barge in.  Locking the gate on dopamine disturbance is the essence of how the brain can achieve cognitive control over our urges.

How then, do we lock the anterior cingulate cortex gate so that the wild horses  don’t barge in? For some it is temporarily more difficult, especially if the party is in full swing, because the prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until about age twenty, and declines as we get older. However, the lock on the gate gets stronger with practice as our brains never stop evolving, they are malleable and neuroplastic until we have spent our three score years and ten. Practice involves regularly keeping in mind thoughts about future – instead of immediate – goals. And while it might sound boring, it’s better to keep the party in the basal ganglia under lock and key! So, keep practising thinking about where to buy your next packet of condoms and keep your prefrontal cortex busy!

Dr Samantha Brooks is a neuroscientist at the UCT Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating disorders to addiction.  For more information on neuroscience at UCT and to contact Samantha, see Note: Images royalty free, courtesy of

Asbestos - To Use or Not to Use

Asbestos – To Use or Not to Use, that is the Question

Asbestos is a fibrous material that became popular in the building industry in the early 1900’s. It occurs naturally and helps to create products that are extremely durable and resistant to corrosion and weathering.  These attributes, coupled with the fact that asbestos was an affordable option, meant that the rate of use increased significantly. Despite its excellent properties, it has become known that exposure to asbestos is a severe health hazard, and it is now declared to be responsible for thousands of deaths each year globally.

So where is asbestos found? Asbestos fibres are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric to create materials that are resistant to fire and heat. It also makes an ideal reinforcement component in glues, mortars and finishing cements. It can be found in roofs, gutters, pipe coverings, insulation boards, ceiling tiles, sprayed coatings and many other products. In addition, it is not uncommon to find asbestos in a friable form such as in loose insulation material found in roof cavities for the purpose of insulation.

Studies have shown that these products, if in sound condition and left undisturbed, will not pose any serious health risk.  If they remain fully intact, then it is generally safe and there is no need to remove them.  Asbestos is at its most harmful when the microscopic fibres are dispersed into the air.  These fibres can be easily inhaled by those in close proximity.

The affects that asbestos can have on one’s health can be devastating. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma occurs when inhaled asbestos fibres lodge in the outer tissue linings of the lung and abdomen. Over time, asbestos inflammation on the surface of these membranes can cause scar tissue plaques and a cancer known as mesothelioma. The risk increases proportionally to the number of fibres inhaled and often those affected have been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time.  Symptoms for these conditions often do not appear until 20-30 years after first exposure.

Any bonded asbestos material that is broken or damaged needs to be removed safely. Work that might release the fibres of asbestos containing material can cause a serious health hazard and it is therefore essential to ensure safety around this harmful substance at all times.

Protecting oneself from the harmful effects of asbestos, especially while building, is essential. Ensure that you are familiar with all the material being used on a project and get any material that you are unsure of inspected prior to use. If any materials which are damaged or broken are thought to possibly contain asbestos, the following short-term precautions may be put in place:

1. Spray with water to prevent soil/dust from becoming airborne
2. Cover with a tarpaulin or plastic sheeting
3. Prevent access to the site by children and pets
4. Use wet clean up procedures rather than dry sweeping or vacuuming

Only those who have been trained to work with asbestos removal and have the correct safety equipment are authorised to remove it. Any work such as drilling, cutting, high pressure cleaning or demolition needs to be carried out by an approved asbestos contractor.

Asbestos use is regulated in South Africa by The South African Department of Labour, as well as The Occupational Hygiene Section of the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH). The South African Department of Labour Asbestos Regulations (No.155 of 2002) prohibit an employer or a self-employed individual from carrying out work that will put any person at risk from asbestos exposure, while the NIOH provides a comprehensive range of asbestos-related services and advice throughout Southern Africa, including consultation, training, asbestos surveys, monitoring and evaluation. While still possible to use in building, asbestos remains a hazardous form of material and every precaution therefore needs to be taken when being used.

Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen who specialises in the Claremont area, shares some household tips and handy home hints with you every month. Read more of his articles here. []

Andre Ter Moshuizen: 082 602 1367 | | []