Solutionist Thinking with RMB is a thirteen-episode podcast series hosted by Bruce Whitfield focusing on the great South African minds who are thinking differently and going against the norm. In the tenth episode, Whitfield speaks with StokFella founder Tshepo Moloi.
Tshepo Moloi is a Soweto-born entrepreneur in the process of turning a 200-year-old industry on its head – by bringing stokvels into the 21st century.
The ethos of stokvels has stayed with us since the 19th century, and I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.— Tshepo Moloi, Founder of StokFella
It’s estimated that over 800 000 stokvels operate in South Africa at any given time. Approximately 80% of South Africans from all walks of life participate in stokvels, says Whitfield, and it is an industry that sees an estimated R40-billion to R49-billion per year flow through.
It’s a far cry from the stereotypical image of coffee cans on top of the fridge and money under the mattress. Stokvels have become a complex savings vehicle with massive administrative responsibilities for many, something that Moloi experienced first-hand as he tried to set up his own Stokvel with work colleagues – one that “died a very painful death”.
How have I not succeeded where my mother, my grandmother have succeeded?— Tshepo Moloi, Founder of StokFella
As an executive of the stokvel, Moloi was responsible for chasing members for contributions and pulling the latest numbers on the fund when requested – something that was very difficult with a full-time job.
My own mother’s facing the same challenges – the only difference between me and her is that she’s persistent.— Tshepo Moloi, Founder of StokFella
And so, with personal experience of the frustrations faced by Stokvel members, and a desire to provide a solution, StokFella was born.
Let us, one, take the pressure off the executive… Two, let us – you as the member – include you in the transparency.— Tshepo Moloi, Founder of StokFella
This has come with its challenges – in between ensuring that StokFella is fully regulated, and convincing people to choose the app over a more traditional Stokvel structure.
The stokvel is a trust game.— Tshepo Moloi, Founder of StokFella
Take a listen to this episode of Solutionist Thinking with RMB, as Moloi and Whitfield discuss the challenges of the system, gaining trust – and Whitfield gets a job offer.