When young people get together, they often focus on having fun and talking about enjoying their youth. But a group of Gauteng friends wanted to think about their future, so they formed the Gatshwaragano Social Club where they don’t just focus on lifestyle issues – they also talk about financial and spiritual issues faced by the youth.
Gatshwaragano, which means where we work together, was formed by five friends who invited more friends and today the club has 21 members. The aim of the club is for members to support each other financially and emotionally during difficult times. The club also bought catering equipment that comes in handy when there’s a funeral or function.
At their monthly meetings, each member contributes R100 which goes into their burial club account. An additional R60 is paid by each member to the host for catering. A member will be fined for arriving late, or for not attending the funeral of a member or their dependant. There’s an additional fine for not helping with catering for a funeral.
Members agree that R100 per month is not a lot of money but not everyone can afford to bump up the contribution now. So to increase revenue, the club decided to use the money to borrow to members to generate more income. For each R100 a member borrows, there is an interest charge of R30 which will benefit the club.
GROWING THE CLUB
The club wants to change their bank account so that they can have more benefits. They are looking at things like the stokvel accounts that are usually provided by banks. These types of accounts come with free funeral policies for each member or 10 free transactions per month. The club members love travelling and want to explore South Africa.
The stokvel has been to Mpumalanga three times. This year the members are looking forward to visiting the North West for the first time. They then want to visit the rest of South Africa’s provinces.
Attendance or lack thereof is one of the club’s biggest problems. As a result, the club has created a rule that should a member skip three consecutive meetings, they will be given a written warning and be kicked out if they skip another month.
However, members are now skipping every other month to avoid the written warning, which doesn’t solve the attendance problem. The club has 20 women and one man. They are trying hard to recruit more men but when they invite men to visit, the men are usually intimidated by the many women in the club.
The NAME: Gatshwaragano Social Club LOCATION: Gauteng MEMBERS: 21 FORMED: 2014 MEETING: Monthly CONTRIBUTION: R160
Not all challenges are necessarily problems. Gatshwaragano Social Club has only one male member in the club. This does not affect their functionality as a club or their progression. The lone male member is not uncomfortable in the presence of all the female members. In fact, he has been part of the club since its inception.
Gatshwaragano Social Club is already struggling to get members to attend meetings and adding more members to the club might make it worse. The club should rather focus on increasing their monthly contribution and buying more equipment that benefits their club. They would then be able to do more when a member loses a loved one
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