Young South African entrepreneur develops his own smartphone known as the ‘Shumiphone’

Lesley Ncube developed his own smartphone, known as the ‘Shumiphone’. The TUT graduate received his advanced diploma in computer science in June last year and he has already launched a company and his own smartphone. The 26-year-old has always dreamed of owning his own tech company and he is making it a reality now.

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 South Africa. However, one man is changing that. Only months after he graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Lesly Ncube launched his own tech company and he developed his own smartphone. The 26-year-old, who hails from Durban, bagged his advanced diploma in computer science in June, 2020, via a virtual graduation ceremony. Ncube revealed he initially started his company in 2014 during his second year on varsity. He offered computer development services while trying to juggle his studies at the same time. That same year, Ncube created his first device, however, he recreated and registered it in 2018. Now, he is the founder of Thatha and the creator of a locally-produced smartphone called the Shumiphone.

Speaking to, Ncube revealed he started his company because he wanted South Africans and Africans to have access to a high-end experience and great software at affordable prices. Ncube’s success did not come easy. He had no funding for his company or the smartphone he created and had to work and save money to make his dream a reality. However, he has had a passion for technology from a young age and knew immediately he wanted to own his own company. Ncube said:

“Since I was 14 years old I watched Bloomberg business news every day after school to learn about stocks and how companies were built and failed and I’d say I’m passionate about the industry of technology.”


The 26-year-old believes technology is the key to many of the issues faced worldwide and he wants to play a part in the solution. Apart from his own personal success, Ncube believes it is time that Africa gets involved in the global technology sector and become 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.”


The young innovator feels that SA is currently lacking influence in the technology industry. He added that SA and Africa as a whole is not producing enough tech products to compete on a world scale and are too reliant on imported goods. Ncube listed Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as his role models and he hopes to inspire other young tech entrepreneurs to push the boundaries.

“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

To buy Shumiphone, visit


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