When we think of smartphones, we usually think of big names like Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Sony. In fact, many people won’t be able to name a single mobile phone created and produced in Africa by an African. However, this narrative is gradually changing and young Africans are the ones taking the lead. 28 years old South African entrepreneur, computer scientist, and software developer, Lesley Ncube launched his own smartphone which he calls Shumi.
Lesley Ncube is the founder of Thatha, a tech company based in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.His tech company, Thatha, which means “take” in Zulu, started as an online shop four years ago in South Africa. Lesley had bigger ideas soon after the launch of Thatha, including producing affordable devices for Africans by Africans.
As a kid, Lesly only had a passion for two things; football and technology. After writing his high school examinations, Lesley had to choose between playing football and technology. Of course! he chose technology and quit playing football for good. His love for technology and creating tech stacks grew when he came across the story of Bill Gates having learnt how Bill started developing software at a young age this inspired him to do more not just for himself but for the continent as a whole.
In 2018, Lesley produced his first smartphone under his tech brand, Thatha. The Shumi smartphone is one of the cheapest smartphones out there in the market, It retails for R4000 (US$235). Lesley told news tabloids that his brand has been well appreciated and received by Africans. “There’s support for the brand and what it stands for. I hope we can achieve something as big as Google or Microsoft right here in South Africa.”
The 28 years old said he wanted South Africans and Africans to have access to a high-end experience and great software at affordable prices. Ncube’s success was not easy. He didn’t have any funding for his company or the smartphone he designed, so he had to work and save to make his dream a reality. However, he has had a passion for technology since a young age and knew right away that he wanted to start his own business.