28-year-old South African entrepreneur Lesley Ncube launched his own smartphone

Lesley Ncube

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.

Shumi Phone

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.

“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. 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,” Lesley said in an interview with DRUM.

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.

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 Ncube

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.

The 28-year-old computer scientist believes technology is the key to the continent’s growing problems and he wants to play a part in the solution. He believes it is time that Africa gets involved in the global technology sector and becomes a critical player amongst the likes of Google, Microsoft and Apple.

I want to really impact the world and bring a lot of jobs by expanding into new technological fields and also improve the way people live especially in Africa. We don’t call our vision ‘our vision’, we call it Africa’s vision to be a critical global participant in the world economy. My message to young entrepreneurs is that big things start small, so start with what you have and growth will come naturally.

Lesley Ncube

Some of the features of the Shumi Phone are:

  1. The design of the shumi phone A11 features an All-In-One machine, magnesium-aluminium alloy body, nano 3D electroplating gradient hot bending glass cover with well-carved round edges and three cameras at the back, the front features a waterdrop screen display as the cherry on top of this beautiful design
  2. The usage of computer devices can be a strain on the eye and a screen display with a 19:9 6.7″ Incell HD+ LCD 720×1520 Pixels 3.5D/Arc edge capacitance screen.
  3. Camera resolution is a very important part of the smartphone experience and with a front camera that has 5 megapixels and a back camera that has 13 megapixels Support flash lamp with Pro mode and UHD mode which enables you to capture your moments like never before.
  4. In terms of storage, you will have a variety to choose from with our flash memory of 128GB with 4GB of ram.
  5. 128GB memory card support
  6. Cloud storage
  7. The device has an MTK6580P /8Core CPU with up to 2GHz of speed delivering excellent performance.
  8. The Shumi runs an Android 10-based operating system which has high speed and a high-end interface giving the user an unforgettable experience.
  9. The shumi phone has a battery capacity of 2800mAH/4.35V battery with a life of up to 1 and a quarter day.
  10. Bluetooth 
  11. Wifi
  12. Facial Recognition
  13. Google Mobile Services 
  14. Fingerprint Scanner
  15. built-in casting 
  16. Built in GPS
  17. built-in Screen recording
  18. auto-lighting 
  19. Night Mode
  20. Flashlight
  21. Batterry Saver 
  22. smart awakening


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Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: abubakarrjalloh@theafricandreamsl.com WhatsApp: +23276211583

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