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4a acorn_to_oak[1]

How BBN – Building Bridges Nationwide started

4a acorn_to_oak[1]

I was sitting in church one Sunday when the pastor said the words: Evil prevails when good men and women do nothing. I probably heard this before but that morning it resonated within my spirit. That started my journey towards thinking more about our communities and our youth and the leadership we should be providing them in preparation for their future.

A while later I was invited to join a group of businessmen and women to train youth in Du Noon, a limited resource community in the Blaauwberg area. After a few months, I felt we had raised expectations that we could not meet. I also realised that the challenge to create employment was now beyond pockets of success and that we needed community-wide involvement. It was then that I asked four questions relating to this challenge which consumed a large part of my life and time to find practical solutions in which all, young to senior, could play a positive role, one that would position them to be part of a definite solution.

After leaving the Navy, I trained as a brainstormer. Over the years I grew in awe of the God-given mind we, as humans, are blessed with. One thing brainstorming taught me was to know the question and to write it down precisely. I wrote down the questions and prepared my mind to wait for the answers which I expected. My attitude of expectation was always rewarded.

Recently I was asked who said the words “Evil prevails when good men and women do nothing”. A Google search pointed to a certain Mr Edmund Burke, a British politician and statesman who championed good causes. Another version I heard was “Evil prevails when good men and women WAIT”. I then made an appropriate acronym for the word ‘WAIT’ to mean Wasting Abilities, Initiative and Time. Certainly something we should avoid during these challenging times. Joe Cook


Joe Cook is an ex SA Navy communications trainer, turned businessman for a number of years, until finally adopting a business and social entrepreneur approach towards the challenges facing business and our communities. As a father and grandfather, Joe is determined to leave a legacy for the children and youth of South Africa. Joe is the founder of BBN – Building Bridges Nationwide and the BBN 5-Star Community Challenge plan. This plan has been launched as SAVision2020 – GOAL – PLAN – DEADLINE. The mission is to develop a business, public and youth partnership to make our communities effective centres of employment creation (5-Star Status) by December 2020. BBN’s SILT – Smart Impact Leadership Training develops the leadership to roll out the BBN Community Success Methodology (Plan) within our communities nationwide. Joe can be contacted via


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