Smartbucks innovator becomes teacher to 45 000 students

Updated on 16 September 2014

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Smartbucks innovator becomes teacher to 45 000 studentsNolwandle Ntshiza, couldn’t sit and watch township youths destroying their futures with conspicuous consumption. Eight years ago, the corporate social investment manager at Stanlib started a financial literacy programme focusing on school learners. The twist was to make learners listen and to buy into the message by packaging it in an edutainment format, a movie about financial literacy.

“Nobody teaches these kids how to manage their money and you can’t blame them,”  she said. “I myself was never taught to manage my finances when I was young. We are encouraged to admire things like credit cards which is wrong.”

For Ntshiza, financial freedom means living a debt-free life according within ones means. This, she says, is the key to financial independence and an enabler to starting a business.

“Look at money as your seed. Don’t eat your seed”

Mind your moola

But Ntshiza’s dream wouldn’t materialise until three years ago when sponsors like Samsung, the NYDA” data-scayt-lang=”en_US”>NYDA, Liberty and others came on board, and “Smartbucks – Mind Your Moola” film was born.

“I was prompted to start a financial literacy movement by the realities I see around me,” Ntshiza said.

 Nolwandle Ntshiza 

The “Smartbucks” film is an hour-long comedy featuring established actors like Mpho “Pops” Modikoane, Kenneth Nkosi and Mapaseka Koetle. In between the explanations of factual information – like compound interest, the difference between saving and investing – come scenes from the protagonists’ lives and their troubles with debts.

The film is relevant, funny and informative. It tackles challenges facing the youth like over indebtedness, lack of saving and wasteful spending.

The film will be screened in Ster Kinekor theatres on Sunday mornings for a period of five weeks and has already reached 45,000 high school students nationwide.

“The movie showed me it’s not easy to start a business alone. One must work hard and be prepared to face hardships”

Student response

We caught up with high school learners from different townships who attended the viewing this past Sunday in Sandton.

13-year-old Itumeleng Moshoe pupil at S’godiphola Secondary School in Cosmo City said he will apply the lessons to his life, like saving his pocket money starting his own business selling doughnuts. Other learners were delighted to be part of the programme and mingling with the film stars.

“The movie showed me it’s not easy to start a business alone. One must work hard and be prepared to face hardships,” Moshoe said.

“You can see that they have understood the concepts as about 80% get 4 out of 5 answers correctly”

Liberty’s MD of emerging consumer markets divisions, Michael Gondo, dispatched some valuable advice to the youngsters on spending, saving and growing money.

“Look at money as your seed. Don’t eat your seed,” Gondo said.

Success rate 

Ntshiza, who is involved from the conception to delivery and also coordination of the programme, said it has been a runaway success since it started.

“There is a questionnaire about financial literacy that learners have to fill after watching the movie. You can see that they have understood the concepts as about 80% of them get 4 out of 5 answers correctly,” she said.

Managing director of Primestars Marketing, the programme’s facilitator, Martin Sweet, emphasized the need for securing young people’s financial future.

“South Africa needs to practice financial discipline and planning in order to improve savings and avoid excessive debt,” said Sweet.

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