Did you know? — Fact about Heritage Day: Before 24 September 1995, in KwaZulu-Natal, 24 September Heritage Day was known as Shaka Day, in commemoration of the Zulu KingShaka.

Stokvels: our South African Heritage

This month we celebrate Heritage Day as we reflect on the fabric of South African society and what our heritage is made of. It’s not all about braai fires and blood, sweat and tears though. There are many more wonderful elements to consider, stokvels being one of them.

By now you are most likely familiar with humble beginnings from which stokvels began. For those of you as yet unaware, the modern day stokvel as we know it has its origins in the stock trading fairs in the late 1800’s where farm workers would pool their resources to be able to buy livestock.

The culture of group savings as a means of economic emancipation has been passed down from generation to generation and in an industry now worth over R45 billion, it is certainly something we should be celebrating during National Heritage Month.

How do stokvels celebrate the heritage of their members? Often stokvel groups consist of multiple members and many times they are from different cultural backgrounds. Embracing diversity while still working together toward achieving a common goal, involves taking the time to understand one another’s differences but also to respect them.

We believe this is what Heritage Day is all about and because of the way stokvel members work together to bridge cultural divides all with the aim of achieving a common goal, they are perhaps the best representatives of just how successful we as South Africans can be if we all did the same.

So this month we honour YOU, the stokvel members of South Africa for joining forces with friends or family in your stokvel groups who are not always necessarily from the same background as you, and not being afraid to work together with them through a relationship of trust to help build financial security.

You are an example of how a South African tradition has gone on to become part of our lands heritage and actually, how it is one that we should all be very proud of. We hope that in whatever way you spend 24 September 2016, that you take a moment to appreciate the fact that you are part of this rich and proud heritage. Aluta continua.

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