Stokvels have been around in South Africa and Africa for many years.
They are a good way for people to help motivate each other to save, and many stokvel or savings clubs are like social clubs where members also help each other in ways other than with money. Regular stokvel meetings have become a social highlight in many communities.
To read about avoiding debt traps, click on the following link: Vuk'uzenzele: Avoiding the debt trap
A basic stokvel is simple to undertake.
Know your rights when entering into a stokvel: Legal City: You and your rights, Stokvels
There are variations on the idea. Some stokvels save for Christmas; all the money each month goes into a savings account and at the end of the year everyone gets their share. If the members choose the right savings account they each benefit from the interest gained as well. Other stokvels have many more members, and meet more often (twice a month or even weekly). Some stokvels operate more like Savings and Credit Cooperatives, where members ‘deposit’ money for saving and are able to take out loans at good interest.
Traditionally, you have to be invited to join a stokvel, you can’t necessarily apply for membership. Howevery, you and a group of friends can start your own stokvel. The most important ingredient is trust – you have to know that each member will pay their contribution, especially that they will continue to do so after they’ve had their payout.
It’s may be a good idea to have a stokvel bank account (First National Bank offers a special stokvel bank account for group savings), or to have everyone deposit their share directly into the account of the person who’s benefiting that month. It is not safe to bring large amounts of cash to meetings.