Lindiwe Hlophe (47) lives in her own house in Brema-KwaNzimakwe, a rural area in Margate on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. She is a single mother of two adopted boys, the oldest of whom has just finished matric and the other is in Grade 11. When her brother passed away in 2002, Ms Hlope also took care of his three daughters, the oldest of whom is working as a teacher while the others are still studying.
Ms Hlophe makes a living as a small-scale organic farmer. She was trained and mentored by Siyavuna, an NGO focused on organic farming in the Margate and Mdoni areas. She is considered one of Siyavuna’s “top farmers”.
She also works at a local crèche that she helped to establish and runs a small business raising and selling chickens. She is currently saving money towards buying a car and helping her parents – also members of their daughter’s savings group – extend their home in Kwa-Bhambula-KwaNzimakwe.
When SaveAct extended its work to the South Coast in 2014, Lindiwe became a founder member of the “Isiqalo SCG”. Since joining, she has accessed loans through her group to maintain her vegetable garden and her chicken business. After her second shareout in 2016, she invested the money in an irrigation system for her garden. She also painted her house and enjoyed one of her best Christmases.
Since she joined SaveAct her chicken business has improved. According to Ms Hhlope, she has doubled her stock of chickens and improved her profit margins.
Another benefit of her membership of the savings group is being able to borrow money to register one of her nieces for her Administration course at Walter Sisulu College. She borrowed again to finance a dress and graduation robes for another niece who graduated in April 2016.
Membership of SaveAct-led groups has brought greater financial flexibility and control for Ms Hlophe who has many different expenses.
“I don’t know what I would have done without SaveAct. Since 2016 there have been a lot of things that need money. I am glad to be in a savings group,” she said.