It happens to most of us: life becomes so busy that we push spending time with our friends to the bottom of our list. We get together sporadically, promise to do it soon again and before we know it three months . . . six months . . . or more have passed. It’s precisely this that made a group of female friends decide the only way they were going to see each other regularly was to form a savings club and grocery stokvel. Today the Sisters Forever Social Club get together every third week of the month to socialise and discuss business.
In addition to the R2 000 monthly contribution, each member pays a non-negotiable R50 towards catering, irrespective of whether they attend the meeting. Prior to the meeting, the host makes a list of groceries and divides it among the members. Each member then goes out and buys groceries of no more than R200.
The women agree that they are fortunate to be friends more than they are club members. It means they understand each other better and have very little conflict. However, one of the challenges they do face is lack of punctuality. Because the members insist on making the stokvel casual, some rarely arrive on time for meetings as there aren’t penalties or consequences for their actions. This obviously becomes problematic for members who have other commitments after the meeting.
Once in a while, outside of their social meetings, the ladies take themselves out to watch a movie. They believe a girls’ night out is essential now and again to maintain good friendships. Because they are all family women with children, members of Sisters Forever Social Club often host a fun day where they take the little ones along. The club members also have a yearend function and often visit resorts in and around Pretoria to unwind.
DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH
The club is focused on investment, and members are having discussions about saving money and buying low-cost property together. The idea is to make improvements on existing property and rent it out. The rent money would pay off the property and serve as an extra source of income for the club members.
NAME: Sisters Forever Social Club LOCATION: Mabopane and GaRankuwa MEMBERS: 10 FORMED: 2008 MEETINGS: Monthly CONTRIBUTION: R2 000.
Stokvel Corner: When all club members are friends and know one another very well, it can make sense to have a club that is not too strict or rigid when it comes to rules and regulations. But it can also be the downfall of the club. The lack of order may lead to chaos stemming from members doing as they please because they know there will be zero consequences for their behaviour.
There have been many instances where a Sisters Forever Social Club meeting had to be delayed due to late arrivals. The women have tried starting the meeting without all members present but it proved to be counterproductive. Members arriving late often disrupted proceedings and asked questions that had already been asked or answered. Although formality can be seen as a burden for a group of friends, it can save the club and prevent petty issues that have the potential to break up the group.
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