Stokvels - ‘a sisterhood gathering’

2016-12-07 06:02
Sbahle Dlamini (30): ‘I think there are various reasons why people decide to join stokvels. Others join traditional burial  stokvels for peace of mind when a family member dies, for others it’s for their children’s education and others just to be able to have money to spoil themselves with after a long hard year. It’s always easier to save when you are among people whereas if you save on your own there is a high chance you’ll abuse your savings. Stokvels come with strict rules that one has to adhere to so you   become disciplined with your savings.’

Sbahle Dlamini (30): ‘I think there are various reasons why people decide to join stokvels. Others join traditional burial stokvels for peace of mind when a family member dies, for others it’s for their children’s education and others just to be able to have money to spoil themselves with after a long hard year. It’s always easier to save when you are among people whereas if you save on your own there is a high chance you’ll abuse your savings. Stokvels come with strict rules that one has to adhere to so you become disciplined with your savings.’

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THE most anticipated time of the year for most black families is December­, not because of the festive­ cheer, but because most are stokvel members and with that comes some temporary financial relief at this time of the year.

My mother has been a member of a stokvel for many years and this year I also “inherited” the tradition and decided to be part of a stokvel.

After trying to get into the habit of saving on my own I failed dismally because I would often dip into it more often­ that I should.

After joining a stokvel I found it was a way for me, as an undisciplined spender, to save money by forcing me to be accountable to a larger collective.

When I was trying to save on my own for a while I found I was not disciplined enough to continue. However, when I shared my goal of saving with people I had committed to, I was more disciplined and determined to achieve this.

I find that for women, stokvels have become more than just saving money for groceries, the festive season or to get through January.

Stokvels also contribute to the empowerment of women. They play a role in promoting savings as being instrumental in the empowerment of women­. Women in stokvels do not have to depend on their spouse for contributions, their participation in stokvels empowers them to the extent that they break away from a culture of dependence on men.

Stokvels are also not only about women gathering for the purpose of saving money, members of stokvels are there for each other and are supportive of one another when faced with hardships such as the death of a loved one.

Stokvels establish social networks and friendships, which provide a forum for discussing personal lives and other issues, thus learning from each other’s experiences. Friendships are established or strengthened from these conversations that take place at stokvel meetings.

It is therefore through this networking that we women establish other innovative ideas to improve the quality of our lives.

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