Duduzile Mazibuko (35) lives in the Msinga (Mshayazafe) area with her four children, three of whom are at school, while the last-born is still too young. She is unmarried. Ms Mazibuko receives a social grant from the government, but needs to generate more income to fully support her children, one of whom is about to start tertiary level studies.
Before joining SaveAct, she rented two plots at a place called Mtateni where the most of the community had gardens. There, she would plant cabbage, spinach, tomatoes and onions for sale within the community.
Ms Mazibuko heard about SaveAct in December 2014 from existing members and was curious to get more details. She met with other community members and had a long discussion concerning SaveAct. In January 2015, she and some others decided to form a group which was trained for three days by SaveAct staff.
The group adopted the name Thandanani SCG to “emphasise the importance of loving each other”.
“I gained a lot of information which was useful and the thing that I enjoyed most was realising that everything that happened during our monthly meeting would be transparent. I realised that savings was not for working people only,” she said.
She also recognised the difference between stokvels and the SaveAct methodology. “In stokvels there is always a one book to record the savings which is only being seen by the members who are on the table, but in SaveAct groups, each member has his/her own savings book, which means we all have access to knowledge about how much we save and we also have the opportunity to take loans depending on how many shares we have,” she said.
After drafting their constitution the group decided on a single share value of R100. Ms Mazibuko said she was able to buy three to five shares a month depending on her profit from selling vegetables.
Mazibuko said the impact of SaveAct was almost immediate. “Since I joined the SaveAct group my life was different; during the cycle I was able to feed my family, and buy school clothes and stationery.”
At the time of the group’s first share-out in December 2015 Ms Mazibuko had 26 shares and received an amount of R3588. The share value had increased from R100 to R136.
Keen to think ahead, Ms Mazibuko used some of the money to buy more seed to produce more vegetables. But while the vegetables were still growing, she was able to buy vegetables in bulk to sell them on at a profit.
Ms Mazibuko is now in a position to consider the possibility of renting more land to further increase vegetable production and her annual share-out.
“With SaveAct, I generate more income than before. This year, 2016, I have an idea of renting a third garden to make more profit, because one of my children will be starting higher education soon, and I would like to make preparation for him. I have learnt that in order to receive more at share-out you need to save more. I was clueless before but now my mind is open, all thanks to SaveAct.”
“I would like to thank the SaveAct project for helping us to reduce poverty, improve economic conditions and empower us to take control of our lives. I appreciate everything that the project has done for us – in our families and community.”
*This case study was compiled with the assistance of SaveAct Field Officer Bongekile Mchunu.