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Are stokvels worth it?

For those of you who do not know what “Stokvels” are, Wikipedia defines them as invitation-only clubs where people serve as rotating-credit unions or scheme, where member contribute fixed sums of money to a central fund on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.
This definition is correct, but to me a Stokvel is more than that. I have experienced it indirectly – how it helps people, especially women.
I have seen how it has helped my mother and her friends through tough times.
Ever since I can remember, my life has always been part of Stokvels. This year, my mother is in three different Stokvels. She always tells me stories about how a relative of a member would pass away and the policies would not pay out or there would be a delay. But meanwhile the deceased needs to be buried or the body transported to another country.
 As soon as the members find out that there is a problem, they will go out of their way to find a solution for this problem.
 They contribute money to that cause. If that turns out not to be enough, they give more, plus they give moral support to the bereaved and their families.
These women stand together in times of sadness and happiness.
I say this because I remember the times they would have parties, which is the fun they had at every month’s end, like a big happy family reunion. For me as a child it felt like being in some secret sisterhood club.
Unfortunately, during such occasions it was not all peaches and cream, because I can also remember the fights they had, how they would embarrass each other and squabble over petty issues.
 I also remember how my mother would teach the ladies how to manage the books and the club to keep track of things. But at the end they would take her for granted and she would leave and start a new club.
Throughout all these years my mother was involved in Stokvels, she has always included me – but as a silent partner.
Now I think it is about time for me to get serious with this and be hands-on and fully involved, because I have seen the benefits of it and how it can built up lasting relationships with women that one would have never have met if it weren’t for Stokvels.
Obviously there will be ups and downs, but hopefully more ups than downs for me when I eventually join a Stokvel.  Its all good to decide that I will join a stokvel, but the questions are: With whom? What type of Stokvel will it be? Do I join an existing Stokvel, or do I start my own?
Sokvels are worth it, and I am going to make the one I join worth it for me, come hell or high-water. Lets hope this works out. I do not see how it couldn’t.

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