Stokvels are not only a South African phenomenon, but an African one. People of various African nationalities living in SA also have a concept of stokvel that they use to save money. And this is used for an even greater purpose – starting businesses.
The enterprise development aspect is quite big in stokvels of all these countries. For example in Lesotho, which is dominated by agriculture, people use proceeds from their stokvels to help one another other buy cattle for breeding purposes.
Nkgadima says that South African stokvels could learn a lot from Nigerian ones. “Nigerian stokvels are geared towards enterprise development. If you get the stokvel money [fellow stokvel members will say], ‘Show us the business, what did you do?’” she says.
Sennelo says that Nigerian members are expected to be accountable for the money loaned to them and it must be on record. “After they have loaned you the money you have to show them what the money was used for, your profits, you have to be accountable for each cent they’ve given you and if you don’t, you get penalised and have to pay back all the money, with interest.
“And if you’ve failed and you don’t come back with some sort of showcasing to show that this business is growing, you get penalised,” she explains. While burial stokvels make up the bulk of the stokvel sector, investment stokvels, although only said to be making up 4% of the industry, are beginning to become more prominent.
“We are starting to see younger males tapping into investments types of stokvels and the values of their stokvels are much higher,” says Nkgadima.
Unlike various types of stokvels that may have members contributing R100 on average, investment stokvels have members individually investing R1 000 on average.
“Stokvels are evolving, with birthday and investment stokvels, but it does not mean they are dropping the things they used to do in the past. But they are adding other things that are relevant,” says Nkgadima.
Nasasa has Stokvel Indabas and i t may i nt r oduce a n i nvest ment summit and test the waters in terms of how many stokvels are interested in investing their access savings in the stock market, says Mazwai.
Hollo says investment and grocery s t ok vels a r e t he f a s t e s t- g r owing segment i n t he market. This is an indication of the evolving needs of the growing black middle class.
“We grew up in an environment where stokvels were the norm and we