Debt-free – Stokvels stump loansharks!

Loan sharks should consider writing their own obituary since members of the public have launched a killer counter attack in the form of stokvels for self-economic emancipation.Women of Merwe, a village in Malamulele, Limpopo, joined hands to confront poverty and duck the wrath of vicious “˜amashonisas’ by starting a self-help savings group.The group started with a mere 14 members, but it has now swelled to 40 members. “More women, including those from neighbouring villages show an interest in joining our group. We had to stop them for a moment while we acquire skills to manage a formation with such a great number of membership,” said Betty Mabasa, the group’s chairperson.The idea was born after one of the village members passed away and there were no utensils to care for mourners.”We then called for a women’s gathering where we agreed to open a group savings account with the aim of buying utensils,” says Mabasa.They then asked each member to contribute R100 a month. Out of those contributions they bought catering utensils for each member for communal use, be it for graduations, birthday parties, funerals or anniversaries.Now that each member has utensils of their own, they take turns buying each other groceries, other household goods and debt settlement.Betty showed her excitement as she showed me around her house, pointing to her lavish pieces of furniture. “These are some of the things I could not afford for cash had I not been part of the group savings.” Their future plan is to buy tents and chairs for communal use and also to start a poultry cooperative.Another similar initiative was started by a group of former classmates from around Soshanguve and Mabopane.Bokamuso Investment Club is an 11-member social club whose aim is to foster the spirit of ubuntu and encourage one another in the proper use of their personal finances.”We help each other in times of need, it could be death or festivity,” said Isarel Matsie, the club’s chairperson.None of their members, says Matsie, have fallen prey to loansharks. They stand by each other through thick and thin. “I never recall a day where I walked into a cashloans doorway,” he said.During their monthly meetings, they swap issues ranging from maintaining healthy relationships, finances and other personal matters in a bid to change their lives for the better. The meetings are complemented with the soothing sound of jazz while they enjoy their drinks.For those who would like to start similar initiatives, Matsie was quick to say, “Our brothers and sisters out there, be more focused on investing money for future needs and be faithful to your fellow members as these help create strong bonds amongst members.”Members of Bokamuso Social Club will be out in full force this year to encourage residents to live a debt-free life!

Yingwani Mashaba

Izitokifela zimangaza abebolekisa ngezimali!Selokhu kwethulwa iqembu lokulondoloza, abesifazane endaweni yase-Merwe eLimpopo sebeyakwazi ukungayi koMashonisa. Kanjalo ne-Bokamuso Social Club ibamba imihlangano njalo ngenyanga lapho abaxoxisana khona ngezindaba ezahlukene zokugcina ubudlelwano obunempilo, izezimali kanye nezinye izindaba eziqondene nomuntu ngqo futhi basizane uma kunomuntu odinga ukusizwa.

Stokvels klop uitleenwolwe!Sedert hulle “˜n spaarklub begin het, was dit vir die vroue van Merwe in Limpopo moontlik om van die amashonisas af weg te bly. Dieselfde met Bokamuso Social Club. Hulle hou elke maand vergadering en ruil idees met mekaar uit oor goed soos hoe om gesonde verhoudings te híª, hoe om finansies te beheer, en ander persoonlike dinge. In tye van nood help hulle mekaar uit.

Di-stokvel di phepetsana le di-loanshark!Haesale ho thakgolwa sehlopha sa ho boloka tjhelete, basadi ba Merwe mane Limpopo ba kgonne ho tlohela ho ya ho bomashonisa. Hona ho etsahetse hape le ho ditho tsa Bokamuso Social Club tse tshwarang dikopano tsa tsona tsa kgwedi le kgwedi moo ba abelanang ka ditaba tse tlohang ho poloko ya bophelo bo botle, taolo ya ditjhelete le ditaba tse ding tse ba amang ka bobona, mme ba kgona ho thusana ha ba hloka ho itseng.

“Stop being coy and timid” warns professor

Woody Aroun

Union media should stop being “coy and timid” when dealing with controversial issues, says former unionist and now Wits University Professor Sakhela Buhlungu.Buhlungu was on a panel addressing participants at a Numsa writers workshop on the “˜Role of union media’.While the professor was adamant that good union reporters should be able to “put the debate in the open”, he described Numsa publications as a “unique model” that holds hope for the future of trade union journalism. Other panellists at the workshop included freelance journalist and former South African Labour Bulletin editor Renee Grawitsky and Philemon Shiburi, national office bearer of Numsa. Grawitsky also called on delegates to create spaces for more open political debate while Shiburi reminded delegates that some matters of an internal union nature required substantive investigation by its constitutional structures before the union could pronounce itself on the issue – this was in response to the commercial media that sometimes runs a story on what he called “hearsay”. As delegates discussed and debated issues of censorship, editorials and the establishment of an independent labour newspaper, Buhlungu felt that Numsa could do a lot to improve its publications by focusing on stories of a more rural nature, marginalised workers, women’s issues and HIV/AIDS.The five-day workshop gave Numsa Writers the chance to put into practice the art of effective reporting.

A push for non-independent writers!

The debate was very interesting. I wondered how it could filter down to all Numsa members and non-members, employed and unemployed writers out there, not only filter but to educate, politicise and give them a proper organisational discipline and broader understanding of society in general especially the NDR. I think it is very dangerous and suicidal to the organisation to have totally independent writers. We can’t have loose and uncontrolled troops with heavy machine guns, grenades and land mines in our society. As a Numsa writer you are a foot soldier: a dedicated worker educator and an organisation builder. All of this is done through the magic of a pen, thus I strongly support the non-independence of writers.Mncedisi Phaphu