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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.23 n.1 Pretoria  2010


Ethnicity, cultural diversity and poverty in South Africa: Archaeological perspectives from Iron Age Palestine



Coenraad L van W Scheepers






Ethnic and cultural intolerance is still alive and well in post-Apartheid South Africa. It impinges negatively on the country's fight against poverty. Recent statistics on poverty in South Africa indicate that poverty is much higher amongst historically disadvantaged groups with no indication of any improvement. To alleviate poverty, foreign investment, amongst others, is crucial. Foreigners will only invest once they see local people are prepared to invest their skills and capital. This is not happening because South Africans from different ethnic background have not acknowledged or made peace with their ethnic diversities. Recent archaeological discoveries from stratum I at Ekron (an ancient Iron Age Philistine city) revealed evidence of Philistines, Judeans and Israelites working together in factories, sharing their capital, knowledge and skills. The author concludes that the seemingly harmonious and prosperous co-existence evident from the discoveries at Ekron, would not have been possible if these groups didn 't somehow managed to accept and tolerate their ethnic diversities and work together to survive under Neo-Assyrian rule. The archaeological evidence from Ekron has revealed valuable perspectives on co-operation between ethnically diverse groups that can assist South Africans in their quest to alleviate poverty.



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Prof. Coenraad L.v.W. Scheepers
Department of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of South Africa
P. O. Box 392, UNISA, 0003

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