Exhibition brings stokvels and sellers under one roof
Founder encourages people to attend for inspiration
Stokvel-ex is an exhibition that brings stokvels and service providers under one roof to impart knowledge and empower societies.
It was founded in Pretoria in 2014 by Neo Mohlatlole.
“The purpose is to link these groupings with service providers of products they consume,” he says.
“We looked and noticed that a lot of stokvels get burnt [and] the amount of money that’s sitting with stokvels. If stokvels knew their value, they will be able to use that money for the benefit of their communities.
“We had to find a way to empower… because it’s women who are mostly part of stokvels… They are building the community. How do we make sure that they are empowered to make better decisions?
“When we looked at the market, there were all kinds of expos and we noticed that there was no exhibition that was more edutainment that would empower stokvels.”
He says Stokvel-ex links stokvels to cooperatives and vice versa so that societies can buy from these cooperatives and stimulate the local economy.
“[We encourage] stokvels to look at businesses in their area. There are certain businesses that will make more sense to you as a person that stays in that village than it would to an assessor at a bank. It’s those conversations [and] to say how do you look at the worth of money that you put in and out with the bank but it is not trickling down to help you and your community grow,” Mohlatlole says.
He says under the Stokvel-ex umbrella, there are investment companies, burial and travel companies, among others.
“Stokvels have evolved over the years from what they initially came out and saved towards.”
Mohlatlole says stokvels have moved to extending each other’s houses and travelling, among other things.
“As the group evolves, what they are saving the money for also evolves. Travel stokvels are taking over now. Every year, stokvels take buses to various areas. These travel stokvels have been growing steadily.
“The main stokvels, for the longest time, have been about burial, groceries and savings. Those have evolved from what our parents used to put out.”
Stokvel-ex has been holding annual exhibitions since 2014 and this weekend, it will host its first show since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first leg of the exhibitions will be held at the Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane, Limpopo, from October 27 to 29.
From November 24 to 26, the exhibition moves to the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec.
Mohlatlole encourages people to come with an open mind, to be empowered and inspired.
He says there are a lot of things to learn, adding that they have organisations that will talk about how to protect funds, long- and short-term investments and travel companies that have packages for stokvel groups, among other things.
“Ordinary South Africans will get to interact firsthand with an array of exhibitors ranging from financial institutions, wholesalers, burial, tourism, education and branding,” Mohlatlole says.
He says many stokvels are gaining knowledge about how they can improve at the exhibition.
“When you come to the show, you find service providers that are in finance that guide you on when you’re saving your money, you get better values here and there and this is what you look for.
“There are a lot of scammers at the moment and around this time because they know a lot of stokvels are about to withdraw their money. There are a lot of get-rich-quick [scams]. We guide them on what to look for. If a financial institution is not a registered financial services provider, then you need to know that they are not people you should be taking financial advice from.
“The beautiful thing about Stokvel-ex is that you are able to compare apples to apples on the floor. You don’t have to go to town to see what service providers are offering,” Mohlatlole says.
Entrance to the exhibitions is free.
“Doors are open to everyone.”
He encourages stokvels to register for the exhibition using their WhatsApp line (0615821673) or on www.stokvel-ex.co.za.
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