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Josh Cox: On Becoming a Social Entrepreneur

Here Josh Cox, founding director of FIX FORWARD, describes his life trajectory exploring three situations, challenges and personal and/or professional achievements that he feels have contributed to him being who and where he is today, and to enabling him to develop the concept for FIX FORWARD.

“I was one of the few white people privileged to go to a mixed race school in the 80’s and early 90’s, a situation that gave me at least some insight into the social injustices of Apartheid, as young as I was. Growing up I was also well aware of the environmental destruction taking place around the globe. By the time I turned 18 I was completely disillusioned with the world and in all my naiveté I felt very strongly that the most honourable thing to do was to “check out” of this failed society, to go into the wilderness and simply “live off the land”.

At around this time I had a conversation with my parents, explaining my views and my plan. My father’s response to me was, “But don’t you want to make a contribution?” I didn’t need days, or hours or even minutes to ponder that question. In that very instant my view of what I wanted to do with my life changed completely. Ever since that moment my life and my career have been focused on searching for opportunities to make a contribution to improving this country and indeed the world.

The greatest contribution I feel I can make is by creating and implementing a whole new idea for social development that wouldn’t exist otherwise. This is what has motivated in the years it has taken to make this idea a reality.

Growing up I also struggled to identify with my white, European ancestry, a culture responsible for most of the environmental destruction and social injustice, at least in South Africa. Put plainly I hated the fact that I was of white, European stock and was deeply ashamed of my culture, if one can call it that. I have come to terms with this, but a remnant of this view is that I’m continually looking to connect with people of races and cultures other than my own.