Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe yesterday called on South Africans to maximise arts and crafts to improve livelihoods.
He was speaking during Heritage Day celebrations at the Ntwampe Sports Ground in Sekhukhune, Limpopo.
Motlanthe said people should focus attention on the richness of South Africa's cultural heritage.
"Government endorses and supports the strategic objectives of Heritage Day celebrations which include the showcasing of the contribution of crafts to economic development," he said.
"Crafts speak a universal language and are appreciated across class, gender, race and all other social barriers."
He said it was also necessary to focus on providing services such as housing, water and electricity "as it is of lasting benefit to cherish the positive story of our rich cultural heritage".
Motlanthe also congratulated fashion designer David Tlale for his achievements.
"His illustrious designs have earned him respect as a fashion designer and role model both at home and abroad."
Motlanthe spoke of crafts being used to improve livelihoods and promote indigenous designs .
"Our indigenous cultures are tools we can use to heal our broken spirit and bring back social stability that is threatened by crime, violence against women and children and xenophobic tendencies."
Motlanthe, who was accompanied by Minister of Arts and Culture Lulu Xingwana, urged people to organise themselves and creatively use their craft skills for self-employment or enterprise development to counter the job losses under the current economy.
"Go back to the land and till it in order to survive," he said to loud cheers.
Motlanthe added that this would protect the poor, the unemployed and low-income earners from the effects of the recession.