Thandi Mkhabela's money used to slip through her fingers.
Now the 34-year-old mother of four earns interest on monthly savings, has paid off debts and is planning to extend her house in a township just outside Johannesburg, without ever dealing with a bank.
Mkhabela's improved financial footing came after she formed a savings club in June 2020 with 16 other women. Each of them contribute between 100 rand ($6.64) and 500 rand a month, and the club, known as a stokvel, offers three-month loans to members at rate of 10% per month. At the end of the year they split the pot between them.
Mkhabela's is one of hundreds of thousands of stokvels that make up a largely informal market worth more than $3 billion annually, based on estimates from the National Stokvel Association of South Africa (NASASA)
South Africa's major banks have for years wanted to bring stokvels into the country's mainstream banking system.