By Nomali Cele
You can’t say you are an Afropolitan if you didn’t grow up with the women in your extended family being in at least three stokvels. There was always the one the whole family was signed up to, which eventually culminated in having people peel the veggies or bake the scones if tragedy struck in the family. If the women in your immediate family – Mom or Grandma – always had big goals, then there would also be the funds-pooling stokvel, which would make it easy for them to achieve big goals like putting in a ceiling at home or changing the furniture. Don’t forget the stokvel that ensured that you ate the best meals all through the festive season, with enough left over to carry you through the longest month of the year, January. And, of course, there was the stokvel nobody – except your matriarch – knew your family needed until it was the first day of school and you had that new pair of shoes you needed and full school supplies, with a face sleek with Vaseline to boot!
Stokvels, in their traditional sense, are great as they not only give you a chance to get out the house at least once a month but they also provide you with a group of peers who will give you positive pressure. Being in a club with other people who share the same goals you automatically gives you people to hold you accountable. These people in your club are unlikely to judge you, should you waiver in your pursuit. They will be there to provide reinforcement and positive encouragement, to remind you why you joined the club in the first place.
In this spirit of groups of people coming together to help each other reach goals, here are three suggestions for clubs (or stokvels if you prefer) that you – and your group of friends or colleagues – can start together. It’s never too late.
This is a big one. You will need people who share the same views of money and medium-term money goals as you. However, you will also need to be in this club with people you trust implicitly.
How to start: When you have your founding members – most banks open group savings accounts where they are for three or more people – write down your constitution and goals. Set targets.
Advice: Always be cautious with the investment advice you take. It’s always better to approach finance professionals. With the economy being what it is, scammers are all over.
Who hasn’t made “read more” a resolution for more than two years in a row? Usually, you start off well and then life, as it inevitably tends to, gets in the way. If you have a stack of unread books or a long list of books you have been told you simply MUST read, it starts to feel like too much. It feels like you cannot possibly catch up, but you can start today!
How to start: Stop taking people’s recommendations. Start a group chat with your bookish friends. Select a book you all already own or purchase one from your long list of recommendations. Start reading. Give yourselves a month, at least 20 minutes of reading a day, to finish the book. Use the group chat to discuss the book but don’t spoil it for those lagging behind.
You can share your thoughts in the chat group until you next meet. This way, anticipation will build for those who haven’t been able to take time to read each day to catch up.
Advice: Books are expensive. Try also creating a loaning system where you lend each other books that the others have on their must-read lists.
Without too much expectation or emphasis placed on weight, start a fitness club with friends. With this club, your aim will be to get together at least once a week and do an activity – for at least an hour – that will get your hearts going. That’s it. Be it an hour of playing soccer, cycling around the neighbourhood, playing netball or going to a formal class – Zumba, anyone?
You don’t have to feel tied to one activity, you can switch it up as you go along. The same applies to the frequency of your meetings.
How to start: The best start to a fitness club is an activity that doesn’t require too much equipment to begin with. So unless your friends’ circle is filled with people who have bicycles collecting dust in their garages, cycling might not be the best option for starting. Gather your favourite people – it’s always best to lure them with the promise of a delicious brunch afterwards – and go for a brisk walk around the neighbourhood.
There you have it, three ideas to help you create a support system of like-minded people around you while you pursue your goals.
What kind of club do you need in your life?