Use indigenous skills to generate income - Ramaphosa

Naledi Shange, News24

Johannesburg - South Africans should use their indigenous skills to generate income, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

The country had many skilled crafters, potters, weavers, and sculptors and there was a big market for their products if they were given basic marking and financial management skills, he said at a Heritage Day celebration in Mokomene, Limpopo.

There were villagers skilled in building thatched roofs, which were used for construct lapas, upmarket houses, and guest lodges. Yet those with that skill were not registered as artisans or master builders by home builders' associations and engineering bodies.

The industry should register indigenous building methods as an officially recognised trade, Ramaphosa said.

Many Africans grew up eating indigenous food such as amasi and marula. Producing and selling these products could help alleviate poverty and hunger.

Ramaphosa said initiation schools could be used to teach young people about acceptable sexual behavior and the prevention of HIV transmission.
"They have a role to play in discouraging young people from following a life of crime, violence and alcohol and drug abuse. These must be cultural schools that reaffirm positive social values," he said.

Senior citizens were living human treasures and the country had to ensure their knowledge was collected and preserved for future generations. They should educate young people in community centres and schools, he said.

As technology developed, African knowledge should not be sidelined.

"Indigenous knowledge is not a relic of the past. It is a vital part of our present and our future," he said.