PEOPLE OF THE POINT: GERHARD ERASMUS
Meet this months People of the Point, Gerhard Erasmus. He has been part of Edit Microsystems for 6 ½ years and introduces blind people and people with low vision to technology and assistive devices to aid them with everyday life. He is also blind and makes extensive use of their technology. In South Africa, only 3% of blind people are employed and he is one of them.
What is your favourite part of your job?
I enjoy the training and support component most. It is very rewarding to know that unnecessary hurdles are removed by technology and services that is on offer. Having the opportunity to share my knowledge and the uniqueness of these devices with other blind and low vision persons all over Africa is a privilege.
Tell us something interesting about yourself
I attended Pioneer School for the Blind in Worcester. With the use of technology and the skills I acquired I was able to attend Tygerberg High School from the age of 16. I graduated from this mainstream school in 1999. Technology and assistive devices opened doors and introduced me to new opportunities. Today I use various cutting-edge solutions, including a Braille tablet and screen reading software to access online information sources. I read and write e-mails; surf the web and can perform most tasks my peers are able to perform on a computer.
I also make use of public transport between Durbanville and Sea Point. I am one of the first people to arrive at work and pride myself to always know of the latest developments.
What is your favourite hobby/ thing to do and why?
I love playing my guitar. I might not be good, but I do find it very relaxing. My wife is also teaching me how to bake. I enjoy the time we spend together in the kitchen; learning a new skill.
What is the coolest/ scariest/ craziest thing you have ever done?
Put money in Bitcoin.
Would you rather always be 10 minutes late or always be 20 minutes early?
I would prefer to be 20 minutes early and therefore start my journeys early too. I hate being rushed. Very few things in life are as important as they might seem. There is no reason to rush.
Would you rather be able to teleport anywhere or be able to read minds?
Well, since I’m blind, I’d have to vote for teleportation since self-driving cars aren’t developing fast enough! Mind reading would come in handy when I try to sell a product to a client. It will be good to know if I’m wasting somebody’s time when I am busy with a sales call.
Pizza, I’m not a wood-fire snob and therefore love all pizzas. I would eat it every day if I could.
Favourite movie/ TV show?
TV Show: Scrubs. It is the greatest television depiction of friendship of all time.
Movie: Casino or anything about the Mob. Casino’s only crime was that it was released after Goodfellas.
Favourite place to visit/ go on holiday?
Anywhere where my wife is.
Tulips. I like the shape and the texture of the leaves.
That’s all from Gerhard, have a great Movember and remember to enter this months competition, we would love to see your moustaches!
If you want to see someone specific as our next People Of The Point click here to nominate them.
Until next time, keep cool and remember that every drop counts!
The Point Team x
Remember, Remember the month of Movember!
It’s hard to believe that Movember (which is celebrated in the month of November) is almost 20 years old!
Painter’s brush, toothbrush, chevron, walrus, pyramid, pencil, lampshade, imperial, and that’s just the start of it, but what do these seemingly random things have in common? They’re all moustache types, and pretty soon you’re going to see a whole more of them because it’s Movember time! In honour of the yearly event, we’re looking at its origins and why it’s such a worthy cause to get behind – even if you can’t grow a mighty mo!
It all started in 2003 when “two mates from Melbourne, Australia (Travis Garone and Luke Slattery) were having a quiet beer at the Gypsy Bar in Fitzroy when their conversation turned to recurring fashion trends. The moustache, a fixture in past decades, was nowhere to be seen in recent trends. They joked about bringing it back.” Since then it has grown with each passing year and is now a worldwide phenomenon with over 5 million active Mo Bros and Mo Sistas (yip, ladies, you can get involved too!).
As fun (and funny) as it can be, the concept has always been rooted in raising awareness about men’s health issues.
“The two friends decided to talk their mates into growing a Mo. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer.”
And what started as a playful challenge has become a formidable force of change in the lives of many men. For example, their research found that on average men across the world die six years younger than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable. Why does this happen? There’s no simple answer, but a lot of it has to do with the simplest thing: communication.
“70% of men say their friends can rely on them for support, but only 48% say that they rely on their friends. In other words: we’re here for our friends but worried about asking for help for ourselves. Reaching out is crucial.”
It’s also about awareness and knowing when to start asking the right questions.
“At 50, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer and whether it’s right for you to have a PSA test. If you are of African or Caribbean descent or have a father or brother with prostate cancer, you should be having this conversation at 45. Know your numbers, know your risk, talk to your doctor.”
Similarly, men have to embrace their bodies and get to “know thy nuts” as the Movember team puts it.
“Get to know what’s normal for your testicles. Give them a check regularly and go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel right.”
There’s also something you can do every day to improve your health and decrease your chances of falling ill – move. And then move some more. Try to add more activity to your day. Here are a few things you can try to get you up on your feet without having to change too much.
- Take a walking meeting
- Park further away from the office
- Get off the bus a stop or two earlier
- Instead of the lift, take the stairs
- Cycle to work instead of driving
Men’s health and wellness often gets dismissed or simply ignored, which is exactly why Movember is so effective – it’s pretty hard to ignore 5 million moustaches passing you every day!
If you haven’t already signed up to join the challenge you can do so at movember. But more importantly, even if you don’t sign up, make some time to talk to a friend, you never know how much he, or you, might need it.
Till next month,
The Point Team x
Image credit: https://za.movember.com/