Many people who join stokvels do so for lump sums paid out once a year, but for Khayelitsha’s Masimanyane Stokvel it is not only about that. This forum of young women meet twice a month to encourage each other to go back to school, look for jobs and be responsible – and all-round better people in their families and communities.
June 16 was no different for them. They met in Philippi where they hosted a diverse programme of thought leaders. The deputy chairperson of the forum Amelia Mfiki-Zazini said as a collective, the group had a responsibility to run sustainable businesses that grow the economy but also bring about change in people’s lives.
“In the early days it was about gooi-gooi financial support among each other, but we identified that there’s a lot we can do together given the information we were sharing,” she said.
“So we said why not advance this to be a safe space for women. We then decided to meet twice a month. The purpose was to prepare a safe space for every woman in our community so to feel comfortable to share their own experiences, be it good or challenging.
“The idea is to eliminate chances of people committing suicide, being depressed and also empower them to be independent for their own development,” she said.
Among the guest speakers at the June 16 event were a Khayelitsha court representative and health practitioners.
“Women feel connected to each other in the group,” said Ms Mfiki-Zazini.
“The good thing is that with meetings like these, we always get positive feedback from those attending the sessions. There is an improvement within members because most of our sessions are about what we are as individuals and our daily experiences.”Guest speaker Nondumiso Mvinjelwa, from the TB/HIV organisation commended the women for having the courage to come together to help each other.
She said knowing one’s worth as a woman in Christ was very important. “If we all look inside, we need spiritual empowerment,” she said.
Ms Mvinjelwa also emphasised the need to invest in women.
Masimanyane has called on any person or institution that can help the women develop their skill set.