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South African Student Launches His Own Smartphone Company

South African student Lesley Ncube is the founder of Thatha, a tech company incorporated and operating from the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa. As one who studied in the discipline of computer science, Lesley solely designs the software and hardware of his smartphone which he calls Shumi.

The company name Thatha is deived from Zulu language, which means “take.”

He started the company as an online shop two years ago in South Africa. Soon after the launch of Thatha, Lesley had bigger ideas that included producing affordable devices for Africans by Africans.

“With Thatha, I decided to go the traditional route by starting with developing hardware, then moving on to software. That’s when we developed the Shumi smartphone,” Lesley says.

“We manufacture all our products from the onset, including the software. This is also why we decided on a dot za [.co.za] domain so that people know that it was a local product and locally made”, he added.

South African
26-year old Lesley Ncube, Founder of Thatha Smartphone

Growing up, the young entrepreneur had two passions, they were playing football and technology.

Lesley says that he quit playing football for good when he got into high school and rediscovered his love for tech after an article piece about how Bill Gates started Microsoft at a young age.

“I was 14 when I fell in love with tech. I realised that this is what I should do to work towards making a change, and the impact I want in the tech industry for Africa.”

Lesley produced his first smartphone in 2018, which is now referred to as he Shumi smartphone.

The phone currently retails for 4000 South African Rands (236 US Dollars) and has thus far been well-received.

He says that “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.”

South African
Shumi mobile being sold in shops in South Africa

The 26-year-old is currently at the final stages of his postgraduate studies and an advanced diploma in computer science. “It’s important to not only focus on business,” he says. “I encourage people to keep on learning and educating themselves. I strongly believe that the more one learns, the more one can grow.”

Lesley says he believes in starting small and growing to eventually becoming global. “Go for your dream and you’ll realise once you start, everything will fall into place. Start small and build from there,” he says.

“Africa has a lot to offer, we have a very skilled and capable workforce and it’s us as the youth that has potential to attract investors to our continent and position us as a global force,” he adds. “A lot can come from here.”

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Random African

Random African loves writing about the African continent. He is consistently in touch with happenings in every part of the continent and derives joy from providing fresh and crisp information for his audience.

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