With the lockdown enforced on SA and most of the world due to Covid-19, many creative ideas were conceived in all sectors of the economy.
For his part Mpumelelo Mahlangu, 27, thought of finding a solution for a growing need for laptops as more people started working from home, while students had to continue with their studies from home as well.
He therefore created his own entry-level laptop to help those who can’t afford the models in the market. The lad from Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, is the owner of Dot Connect Electronics, through which his laptop is designed and manufactured in the township.
“The Dot Connect laptop was inspired by the national hard lockdown last year. With movements restricted and many people working and learning from home, I decided to design a laptop that would be affordable for everyone, especially the students. I thought about the students who depended on internet cafés because they could not afford to buy laptops,” Mahlangu said.
He said he thought about his own experience as an IT student at Unisa when he would make use of internet cafés to get his school work done.
“I know students struggle with their studies, especially now that institutions of higher learning have introduced online learning. It took me a year to design the spec and the shell of the laptop. I have since designed five laptops which I will use for exhibition on the day of the launch.”
Apart from low cost, asked how different his laptop is from ones already on the market, Mahlangu said it had a smaller internal storage of 64GB storage space. It’s random access memory (RAM) is also slightly lower at 6GB, while the going rate is mostly 8GB. The 4inch screen, however, fits the market standard.
Mahlangu said shortage of funds has drastically delayed his project: “I started with savings from previous jobs, including at a telecoms company where I was a quality assurance officer and later marketing head.
“I was very lucky to meet Thandisizwe Dotyeni who taught me a lot about the business space. Now I want to build an electronics brand that will compete against foreignowned brands. Currently, we don’t have an SA-owned laptop or TV, so we want to penetrate that market in terms of product quality, affordability and making sure this will increase the employment rate.
“We aim to continue manufacturing and servicing the laptop here in [SA].”
Mahlangu said he is still waiting for approval for licensing from the Independent Communications Authority of SA, which he applied for two months ago.