SaveAct works with men simply because it believes that men are part of the solution. In many parts of South Africa , particularly in the rural areas, unequal power relations persist between men and women which sees many women both neglected and abused. Normalising gender relations requires not only that we empower women to take control of their lives, but it also means giving men the opportunity to address their own experience of disempowerment – often economic – to become respected and functional members of the community.
 
Young and old men working together in the Vezokuhle Savings and Credit Group (SCG)
 
As in most areas in which SaveAct works, Savings and Credit groups are dominated by women. However, men are not expressly excluded from SCGs and in the Table Mountain area, one group – known as Vezokuhle -- is made up entirely of men and some boys. A positive mentoring relationship has developed within the group between its older and younger members.
 
The group’s origins reflect the realities of people’s lives: Mr Dladla, who learnt about the SCGs from his wife, founded Vezokuhle by recruiting four boys of school-going age who had no fathers. The rest of the group is made up of 13 older men.
 
Mr Dladla recruited the boys because he noticed their potential and wanted to help.
 
“I appreciated the fact that they were so disciplined and always attended school.  I saw how the youth in the community is reckless with their lives. I knew some of the fathers of these young men. I believe that if the culture of saving is instilled at the young age, there is a better future for these young boys,” he said.
 
The combination of old and young members has produced some beneficial consequences for the group. Said Mr Dladla:
 
“We are old, we can’t read and write; these boys help us by reading and writing for us. We tell them how they should behave in the community, how to grow up and be a good man.  We encourage them to go to school and we tell them the benefit of education. We always meet on Friday at 15:00 to accommodate our boys as they attend school.  It is a win-win situation”.
 
One of the younger members is Grade 7 learner Sizwe. He explains what his SCG membership means to him:
 
“My aunt gives me pocket money every week. I save R2 daily which amounts to R10 a week. I then save my money for four weeks. My aunt gives me the balance if I am unable to make R50 to put into the savings group. I am very happy to be in the group as I have learnt a lot from these men. I enjoy saving money for myself and watching it grow every month. With my share out I will buy myself Christmas clothes and give the balance to my aunt.”
 
Lindokuhle is a Grade 12 student in 2011. He is intending to study a Science Foundation course (bridging programme) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). These are his thoughts:
 
“I joined Vezokuhle after Mr Dladla has invited me and explained to me what it is all about. I got excited about the idea, then I become a member. The money that I save I get from my mother. I will use my share-out to pay for my registration at university. It helped me to be part of this group as I usually had to take a loan for transport to school. I also help my grandmother to pay for her burial society from the loan I get from the SCG.  I enjoy being a member of the SCG with these old men as they help us to stay away from trouble”.
 
As is reflected in the comments from Mr Dladla and the younger members, there is an effective synergy at work in the savings group which is helping to inculcate not only a culture of responsible saving, but to bridge the generation gap and provide mentorship to a generation growing up without appropriate male role models. – Didi Makhanya.
 
 
 
There is another brief story here which may be worth including with a photo and like a cartoon caption connected to that photo. Didi if these are the FLP staff persons – Florence? I think we or I have a photo of her. I am not sure how easy it is – Kim could probably do it to insert a bubble with her exclaiming – Wow so much interest! ?
 
 
Underberg Accounts
“Wow so much interest I am getting from my SCG, siyabonga (thank you) SaveAct” Florence Molefe from Ikusasalethu (Lotheni) - those were the words from one of the members who received her money during share out. The shares grew by 56% for this group. “I have never seen this as I have been part of local stokvel for past 3 years”.
 
“Becoming a SCG member has assisted me a lot when my family member died. I was able to borrow from the group.  I was saved from loan sharks as those are people that I use to go to for emergency. The group members were sympathising with me.  I received all the support I needed plus a loan” Getrude Tshiza from Imizamoyethu.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Working with men

SaveAct works with men simply because it believes that men are part of the solution. In many parts of South Africa , particularly in the rural areas, unequal power relations persist between men and women which sees many women both neglected and abused. Normalising gender relations requires not only that we empower women to take control of their lives, but it also means giving men the opportunity to address their own experience of disempowerment – often economic – to become respected and functional members of the community.
Young and old men working together in the Vezokuhle Savings and Credit Group (SCG).

 

Vezokuhle savings group: a win-win situation

 

men medium

As in most areas in which SaveAct works, Savings and Credit groups are dominated by women. However, men are not expressly excluded from SCGs and in the Table Mountain area, one group – known as Vezokuhle -- is made up entirely of men and some boys. A positive mentoring relationship has developed within the group between its older and younger members.

The group’s origins reflect the realities of people’s lives: Mr Dladla, who learnt about the SCGs from his wife, founded Vezokuhle by recruiting four boys of school-going age who had no fathers. The rest of the group is made up of 13 older men.

Mr Dladla recruited the boys because he noticed their potential and wanted to help. 

“I appreciated the fact that they were so disciplined and always attended school.  I saw how the youth in the community is reckless with their lives. I knew some of the fathers of these young men. I believe that if the culture of saving is instilled at the young age, there is a better future for these young boys,” he said.

The combination of old and young members has produced some beneficial consequences for the group. Said Mr Dladla:
“We are old, we can’t read and write; these boys help us by reading and writing for us. We tell them how they should behave in the community, how to grow up and be a good man.  We encourage them to go to school and we tell them the benefit of education. We always meet on Friday at 15:00 to accommodate our boys as they attend school.  It is a win-win situation”. 

One of the younger members is Grade 7 learner Sizwe. He explains what his SCG membership means to him:  

“My aunt gives me pocket money every week. I save R2 daily which amounts to R10 a week. I then save my money for four weeks. My aunt gives me the balance if I am unable to make R50 to put into the savings group. I am very happy to be in the group as I have learnt a lot from these men. I enjoy saving money for myself and watching it grow every month. With my share out I will buy myself Christmas clothes and give the balance to my aunt.”

Lindokuhle is a Grade 12 student in 2011. He is intending to study a Science Foundation course (bridging programme) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). These are his thoughts:

“I joined Vezokuhle after Mr Dladla has invited me and explained to me what it is all about. I got excited about the idea, then I become a member. The money that I save I get from my mother. I will use my share-out to pay for my registration at university. It helped me to be part of this group as I usually had to take a loan for transport to school. I also help my grandmother to pay for her burial society from the loan I get from the SCG.  I enjoy being a member of the SCG with these old men as they help us to stay away from trouble”. 

As is reflected in the comments from Mr Dladla and the younger members, there is an effective synergy at work in the savings group which is helping to inculcate not only a culture of responsible saving, but to bridge the generation gap and provide mentorship to a generation growing up without appropriate male role models. – Didi Makhanya.