In an era when consumers think it is easier to get credit than open a savings account, abortion award-winning NGO HEARTLINES is urging South Africans to rethink their attitudes to money and savings.
July is officially National Savings Month, remedy sparking a country-wide drive to encourage South Africans to save. According to research, sales an estimated 9 million South Africans are currently indebted.
Film to tackle money issues
HEARTLINES is launching a national campaign to encourage South Africans to discuss their attitudes and behaviours to money.
“Our campaign goal is to challenge people on how we earn, save, spend and give away our money. The goal is to positively change attitudes, behaviours and skills related to credit, saving, earning, and donating,” said HEARTLINES CEO Garth Japhet.
The campaign will be spearheaded by the comedy feature film Nothing for Mahala which premieres in cinemas on 4 October. Nothing for Mahala boasts a stellar cast such as Marius Weyers, Thapelo Mokoena, Mmabatho Montshe, Desmond Dube, Jamie Bartlett, Dorothy Masuku, Casper de Vries, Kenneth Nkosi and Lillian Dube. The film forms part of a larger campaign which will include roadshows and resources based on the film distributed to communities across the country.
Saving a challenge in SA
Research from the 2013 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor – which surveyed 1 000 metropolitan working South Africans – found that many of South Africa’s youth are focusing primarily on short-term financial goals and are taking longer to repay their short term debt as the cost of living increases.
According to the research, the vast majority of respondents (63%) prefer more informal savings vehicles, such as stokvels, burial society and grocery schemes. Savings goals were largely short-term with 34% indicating that they were saving to purchase a car, 31% saving for emergencies or a rainy day and 28% said they were saving to put down a deposit on a home. In addition, most already had debt with 59% owning at least one store card, while 19% had at least one credit card and 14% had a personal loan from a financial institution.
Money and status
“Our greatest challenge in a time of easy money is to consider our attitudes towards money. Most consumers are already under financial pressure to budget amid rocketing prices. We add additional pressure on ourselves by allowing money to confer a status,” said Japhet.
“We need to review our behaviours around money and ask what our pattern of spending says about our values,” he added. “How does our income – and our spending – define us?”
Various banking institutions have already initiated campaigns to encourage people to save.
“Nedbank welcomes and embraces the concept of National Savings Month,” said Anton de Wet, Managing Executive of Client Engagement at Nedbank, announcing its partnership with the Southern African Savings Institute. “As a great place to save and invest, we believe it is important for Nedbank to continue innovating to provide relevant products and services that will enable greater financial inclusion. We aim to make banking more accessible to all in South Africa and to assist in building a culture of saving and financial fitness for our clients.”
HEARTLINES has previously produced award-winning dramas such as The Good Provider, Crossroads, The Bet and the Heartlines movie. These films, first made in 2006, were recently rescreened on SABC3, attracting audiences of over a million people six years after they were first released. In 2009, the HEARTLINES’ project also produced Hopeville, a co-production with the SABC, which included a six-part mini-series that won a prestigious Rose d’Or award.
Funding for Nothing for Mahala and the wider HEARTLINES campaign has come from Nedbank. The following organisations are also funding the film: the Department of Trade and Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation and the Industrial Development Corporation. Campaign support is from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the National Debt Mediation Association and the SABC. The campaign will roll out across all SABC channels early in the new year.
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