This stokvel is run on Whatsapp and the contributions of R1500 have changed lives

Woman pressing a phone
Woman pressing a phone
Tony Anderson

ESTABLISHMENT: Stok’felas is a conventional and modern-day WhatsApp stokvel. This women’s club started when one lady put up a status on WhatsApp to say she is looking for a few ladies to start a stokvel with. A few ladies all in their late 20s, who are her contacts, responded and a club was formed. The rules and regulations were discussed among the ladies. All members know the founding member, but not one another. Members do not meet, so don’t have a uniform. Everything they need to discuss is done on WhatsApp.

Read more| 4 ways you can avoid conflict within your stokvel group

The reason for the formation of the club was because members wanted the convenience of having R7 500 to fulfil a certain need. This saves the financially liberated young ladies from having to tap into their 30-day notice accounts every so often. The club is also built on trust and the members all have the same goal.

LET’S TALK CASH: Members of Stok’felas contribute R1 500 each per month, which is directly paid to one member. The payment rotates every month to a different member. Members also communicate when they would need the money the most. This helps to indicate who should get the money when. For example, a member’s brother is getting married in October and asked to get her money then.

If it is a member’s turn to receive money that month, they will send their banking details to the group. The money will only be sent electronically, and proof of payment is sent to the group. The money needs to be in by the third day of each month. The club does not have any fines or penalties because there has not been a need for it.

GROWING THE CLUB: After all six members have been paid, the team will then have a discussion in the WhatsApp group about the way forward. If a member would like to exit the group, they will be allowed to do so. Similarly, if new members would like to join, Stok’felas will discuss this and decide. There is also a possibility of the monthly contribution being increased.

THE CHALLENGES: The stokvel has not faced any real challenges. Members pay on time and respect the WhatsApp group by not sending unnecessary messages or jokes to the group. However, a member pulled out when she realised, she would not be able to afford the contribution. She left to avoid any difficulties.

NAME: Stok’felas LOCATION: Gauteng MEMBERS: 6 FORMED: 2019 MEETINGS: None CONTRIBUTION: R1 500 a month.

Stokvel Corner: More and more South Africans are making use of social media, especially WhatsApp, for personal conversations, business and even their stokvels.  With that said, you may have more than one WhatsApp group, with three or more members. This can get too much and disturb you when you are at work. Responding to all messages can be a tedious exercise.

Useful solutions It is important for members to send messages only if it is necessary.  Members should also send messages, images and videos that are related or useful to stokvel members. The cost of data in South Africa is quite high, and not everyone can afford it.  It is advisable for members to send messages or voice notes where possible as opposed to videos, which use up a lot of data. \

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