Motlanthe encourages crafters to use their skills wisely

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sekhukhune - Acting President, Kgalema Motlanthe, has called on all South Africans, who have craft skills, to creatively use their skills for income generation to minimise the effect of the global recession.

Motlanthe is currently acting president in the absence of President Jacob Zuma, who is attending the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

"We call on the people to organise themselves and creatively use the craft skills as a measure for self-employment or enterprise development in our effort to counter the job losses under the current economic situation," Motlanthe said, at the National Heritage Day celebrations, on Thursday.

"I make this plea at the present time when our people especially the poorest of the poor are facing the negative consequence of the global recession," Motlanthe said.

He said one of the strategic objectives of this year's Heritage Month is 'to showcase the contribution of crafts to economic development' and demonstrate the potential of arts and crafts to in 'creating jobs, alleviating poverty'.

"I have a firm belief in the untapped potential of thousands of crafters who can benefit from exposure to buyers locally and internationally."

These are crafters who possess skills that have been handed down from generation to generation, skills such as basket-weaving, pottery, dress-making and instruments- making.

"These are directly meant as income generators to improve the livelihood of rural and peri-urban communities especially in the light of international events such as the 2010 Soccer World Cup," Motlanthe said.

He further encouraged South Africans to take advantage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to showcase the country's rich heritage, craft, music and dance.

"A lot will be expected from us as the host of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We must show the world that we love our culture and that South Africans are indeed hospitable.

"We are not going to be judged only on the field of play but even on the richness of our cultural heritage," Motlanthe said.

September marks national Heritage Month and this year's theme is: "Celebrating South African Craft, Our Heritage."

During this month, the Department of Arts and Culture will pay tribute in particular to the crafters, many of whom are found in the rural areas, who have made a significant contribution to the development of the country's rich heritage.

Heritage Month provides opportunities for South Africans to foster social cohesion and instil a shared identity, promote unity and reconciliation through events planned for the month. -