MAKING A DIFFERENCE
It was about 31 years ago when 10 gentlemen in Hospital View, Tembisa, noticed the amount of people passing away in their area and how difficult it was for those families to bury their loved ones. They also noticed that a lot of burial societies were led by women. Hospital View Men’s Club decided that they were going to be men who take care of their families and make a difference in the community.
Today the stokvel has a hundred members and only a few members stay outside the area. When some of their members passed away, the organisation decided to allow the widows to continue with contributions but not become fully fledged members nor do they attend monthly meetings. They, however, attend the general quarterly meetings.
Members started with a contribution of only R20, in 1989, and are now contributing R400 per member monthly. Members are allowed to cover their children, their parents and their in-laws. When a member passes away the stokvel sends R50 000 to the family and R10 000 for the death of a child under 14 years. R15 000 is given for a child who is 15 years and older.
For catering, R1 300 per month is taken from the stokvel contributions and given to the host for catering. Because there are so many members, when a member passes away not everyone attends to avoid high transport costs. Members are divided into half alphabetically and one-half attends, the other half will attend the next funeral. Members who were close to the deceased, but not included in the group that is attending the funeral, can swap with someone who is assigned to go.
Hospital View Men’s Club has different sections within the stokvel, making sure that every member has a role in the stokvel. They have the logistics department that helps organise year end trips as well as tents and pots for funerals too. The marketing team will help with everything that is brand related. The communications team takes care of any internal communication.
Unemployment affects everyone and Hospital View Men’s Club members aren’t immune to it. When some of their members become unemployed, they are unable to keep up with their monthly contributions. There was a period when quite a number of members had to leave because of financial issues, which was quite a challenge. But the stokvel survived.
NAME: Hospital View Men’s Club LOCATION: Hospital View, Tembisa, Johannesburg MEMBERS: 100 FORMED: 1989 MEETING: Monthly CONTRIBUTION: R400.
Stokvel Corner: From Hospital View Men’s Club we learn about the importance of being organised. When you have a big stokvel, it makes it hard for the chairperson and the treasurer to run everything on their own. When you have different departments, it relieves the pressure on those members. Having departments also helps members feel included because they get to belong to a section of the stokvel where they have duties and responsibilities.
IMPLEMENTATING THIS IN YOUR STOKVEL
If you are a small stokvel enforcing different divisions may be difficult. However, it is still important to make sure that one person does not take charge of everything and have the final say. Democracy is very important when it comes to building a stokvel with members that are equal. Having different departments allows members to participate in the daily running of the stokvel. When people are able to give a service to the club, they feel valued and important.