Back in the day, African Americans used an old African technique to save money called Susus, also known in America as rotating credit or savings associations. Susus is the practice of pooling money together in a group for the purpose of growing businesses, paying off debt and buying property. It was a stimulus plan, built on trust and honor. And as Jim Clingman, a writer on African American economic empowerment states, while African Americans complain of foreclosures and a lack of black-owned businesses in the community, we continually support organizations outside of the community and do nothing to economically uplift our own. Perhaps, he suggests it is time to go back to using Susus.
It seems now that the only Susus African Americans can attest to is church offerings and tithes. While there is no harm in pooling together resources for the church, suggests that the reason this has become the black community’s main Susus, is that it is not recognized as Susus. That is not to say that the church hasn’t made use of tithes and offerings. By pooling together the money from church members, churches have been able to build apartment complexes, install community centers, senior citizen communities and various business operations. They have also been able to play a major role in Community Development Corporations or CDCs, to help empower residents in their various communities.
If African Americans can pool their money together to give to the church, they should also see no problem doing so for personal financial gain as well. It is good to trust the church with finances, can’t we also trust a handful of close friends to help raise money together and better our financial standing?
Susus is a tradition once employed to empower communities, still used by African and Caribbean people in this country. These groups have been successful in this country because they respect the trust aspect of Susus. They give their regular monthly contribution to the shared fund without any misgivings and wait until it is their turn to receive the full amount. It has been used for generations to offer financial assistance and for those of you experiencing financial hard times, perhaps you and some friends or colleagues should give Susus a try.