Acknowledgements and thanks
This has been a 25-year project, during which time the world has changed dramatically. When I designed the first version of “Banango Traders” in 1993, DOS had recently moved on to Windows; we did not have cellphones; we had just started using email communication instead of faxes and posted letters; the internet was “something out there”; and ADSL was unheard of, at least for me. Technological change has completely revolutionized communication and education; it has made information accessible to millions of people the world over who would otherwise have remained outside the system. So my first expression of gratitude is to those great thinkers and engineers who dreamed up and have pushed forward the ICT systems that we take for granted today.
Secondly, I would like to thank my family for believing in me and my many projects: and for helping me get through the dark, stressful moments that every aspirant entrepreneur faces from time to time. My wife Lindsay and daughter Saskia have always stood by me and helped me keep my life in balance; they have been my inspiration and raison d’être for the past 30 years. I would like to acknowledge my three brothers, not only for being there as companions in life but also for the traits which I admire in them: John for his quiet commitment to his passions and his unwavering integrity; Mike for his eternal optimism and generosity; and Andy for unparalleled stamina and energy. My parents have also been huge towers of strength, support and concern. Luck has been on my side to have grown up in their home.
Molly Leeuwenberg was my maths teacher at Bishops in Cape Town, one of the great schools of the world. She taught maths with a passion until the day she passed away, far too soon into her precious time on earth. The formulas and algorithms that underpin the “Banango Traders” model are inspired by her. She instilled in me a love for maths and numbers that has helped me through life in a host of ways; and which I have tried to pass on to the next generation. If maths teachers the world over could follow her example, millions of learners would be very grateful and would feel empowered.
In the context of school and passions, I would like to dedicate this programme to the memory of James Thomas, my schoolmate who tragically died in the Westgate Shopping Mall attack in Nairobi. He was there to promote entrepreneurship development in the region, having spent the greater part of his working life tirelessly helping many people of all ages and backgrounds create a source of income for themselves through both skills development and financial support. His passing left a great hole in many people's lives.
Of the many personal friends and associates who have given me wonderful moral support down the years, Kit deserves a special mention for showing particular concern to mentor me carefully through my moments of frustration and self doubt and to help me focus on the opportunities ahead.
The staff at Johannesburg School of Finance, past and present, have also lived with me through the ups and downs of small business life and I am very grateful for their loyal support and tolerance of my shortcomings. Their unwavering efforts to give our customers the best possible service has resulted in the business we have enjoyed from year to year and has enabled us to survive and grow.
Pear Zoo Marketing in Johannesburg brought the BTOL ("Banango Traders" online) concept to life with their brilliant website development skills. I cannot thank them enough for their enthusiasm as well as for the trust they placed in me during the early stages of conceptualization. When you think you are nearly there, you have often only just started a project; and their determination to deal with obstacles and push on to the finish has been the unique attitude that has made the difference between this product coming to fruition and not.
Thank you also to Saskia for editing the learning material so professionally and to Tegan for producing the wonderful animated overview of the game. Thanks too to Goldfish for permission to use some bars from their great track Get Busy Livin’ for the videos; and to Michael for editing and producing the videos themselves.
Finally, there are so many past students of Johannesburg School of Finance on whom I tested one version of “Banango Traders” after another, honing the parameters until I found a combination that delivered realistic results while at the same time not being too demanding or complicated. “Finance is fun!” is the slogan under which “Banango Traders” is presented in our corporate training courses and at schools; and it was the positive response from delegates and learners, who sometimes refused to let me continue their course until they had received their next set of trading results, that inspired me to apply my mind to developing the programme into what it is today. To all those enthusiastic past, present and future banango traders out there: thank you, good luck and have fun!
Peter van Ryneveld