South Africa: Cape Town Women's Group Pools Money to Build Houses

Cape Town women from Philippi, Crossroads, Khayelitsha and Strand have started a stokvel for building homes: Dorah Mkenku, Nolthando Mrwebi, Magotso Malgas, Hazel Ndzawuse, Andiswa Fana, Asiphe George, Caroline Moto, Ntosh Plati, Lizzy Scwebu.

A group of Cape Town women from Philippi, Crossroads, Khayelitsha and Strand have started a stokvel with a difference. They call themselves the Masakhe Ladies (Let's build each other) and they pool their money to build houses.

Started in January, the stokvel currently has 12 members, each contributing R2,450 a month. They then buy materials, rotating through the members one at a time. Members decide among themselves whose turn it is for the monthly lump sum payment. The founding members met through a food stokvel.

"We can't keep on having stokvel for food when we know that the most important thing is the roof over our heads," says Ntombekhaya Plati.

"We get a quotation and go to the hardware store to buy material or save the money to buy a house or a plot," she says.

"I am tired of staying in a shack that leaks when it rains. I want to sleep peacefully when it's raining," says Dorah Mkenku. "I have been doing stokvel for food for more than 15 years and I have nothing to show, but this will have good results because in no time my house will be done."

She received her material on Saturday and plans to build a four-roomed house.

The members of the group have chosen a uniform of overalls and work boots to wear to their monthly meeting. Lizzy Sicwebu says, "We didn't want to wear high heels."

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