Building the future

The Masakhe Ladies are making a bold statement with their stokvel which uplifts and empowers.

A group of women with a different kind of stokvel are challenging the status quo by asserting their right to run projects that will uplift and empower them.

Tired of sitting at home, or seeing women begging for money from their spouses, these women started a stokvel to help achieve their vision of becoming homeowners.

The women, who are part of the group called Masakhe Ladies, each contribute R2 450 a month towards this cause.

Within four months of its existence, Masakhe (Let’s build) has already succeeded in building a house in Lower Crossroads for one member and another home is being built in Gugulethu.

At the building site in Gugulethu on Saturday April 6, the proud women said they were excited that the project was growing.

The chairperson of the stokvel, Ntombekhaya Nyama-Plati said the women were aiming high.

She said they are not only building houses for themselves but want to study construction, have land where they can operate freely and have their own inspectors to check their houses.

“We cannot be asking and asking from our husbands. It should not be real that women are existing to ask,” she said.

“We realised that as women there is a lot that we can do for ourselves. We are taking our position as women and claiming back our dignity. We are not done with what we have presently. We are aiming high and the sky is the limit,”

She said they are 20 strong women who are uplifting other women in their community.

She believes that with Masakhe they have finally gained the right to lead their lives.

Ms Nyama-Plati said instead of buying fancy clothes, they have opted on building their dream homes. She added that part of their broader idea of empowerment was for young girls to take the project further.

“We are looking for land where we can build offices and operate. But that land should be able to give us a space where we can do our bricks. We want to use our own product. We want to build houses on our own not hire people. That is why in the long run we want to develop and empower young girls to run the project,” she said.

The first beneficiary, Dorah Mkhenku said she joined the stokvel with the hope of building a better house for herself. She said she had already started the foundation of her house when her daughter, who was a provider, passed on.

She was left in a lurch. But since joining Masakhane, all is well. “I am excited to have finished a house that I could not have done alone. This a great achievement by the stokvel. What makes me more proud is the fact that women are doing it for themselves. I now have a place I can call home,” she said.

She also encourage other women to do something for themselves.

The second beneficiary, Nobantu Nyama-Malgas said life has changed for good now. The stokvel started on her block of flats last Saturday. She said she cannot wait to see them up and in use.

“To me this is a point out there to say, women have power, women are more powerful than expected. We are claiming our spot and position in the world. I am really excited about what we are doing for women,” she said.

The group said they are willing to educate other women on how to save and help each other.