Limpopo man creates scientific calculator that costs R150

The Geleza calculator is cheaper than most brands on the market Picture: Supplied

The Geleza calculator is cheaper than most brands on the market Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 18, 2023


Johannesburg - The beginning of a new academic year brings with it countless school related expenses.

School fees, uniforms and stationery all need to be accounted for in every parent’s January budget.

Parents will be happy to know that there is one item on the stationery list that has been made cheaper by the innovation and ingenuity of one man, Mothupi Kgopa. He is the founder of Gelezatech which produces amongst other things scientific calculators.

Kgopa’s brand of Geleza scientific calculators retail for R150, much cheaper than established brands which may cost anything from R220 to R600.

He was prompted to find a cheaper solution after realising that students simply could not afford the essential tools required for their mathematics studies.

Kgopa, a mathematician, has played a key role in getting many schools in the Free State to achieve 100% in mathematics, and has mentored and trained mathematics teachers in Free State, Limpopo, Gauteng, Northern Cape and the Western Cape.

“In the worst performing district in the country, which is of course Ekhuruleni East, Burgersfort, I needed to help the kids with trigonometry. When I got there they didn't have calculators. I was ready to buy them the calculators, but it was half the class and the calculators were expensive,” said Kgopa.

Mothupi Kgopa created the Geleza calculator to try and address the issue of accessibility to educational resources. Picture: Supplied.

This highlighted a systemic issue in the South African educational landscape - the lack of resources for many students. This is the main reason Kgopa has taken it upon himself to find cost-effective solutions to the issue.

“The biggest reason was to try and solve the issue of accessibility to educational resources. That is what primarily drives my company today. The fact that educational resources are so expensive and the need to innovate in that space to make them more affordable,” he said.

Kgopa launched his calculators just under a year ago and the response has been phenomenal with the public, corporates, politicians and celebrities buying into his vision.

— Vuyo Zungula MP 🇿![CDATA[]]>🇦 (@ZungulaVuyo) February 24, 2022

“I’ve never seen anything like it we’ve been to possibly all the radio stations without any marketing on my part. Producers have been calling trying to understand what is going on. Not only that we’ve had people who do not even have kids willing to sponsor total strangers with our calculators. This has resulted in us donating so many calculators sponsored by celebrities, mayors or just individuals from the public,” said Kgopa.

Kgopa’s intervention has allowed many students to pursue mathematics with the confidence needed to be able to excel.

Confidence is something that Kgopa feels is vital in the pursuit of excellence in maths, a subject he fell in love with at a young age while studying in rural Limpopo.

“I fell in love with maths because of my primary school teacher in grade 7 because whenever we did fractions and the whole class was struggling and couldn't get the answers right, I was the only one who got them right. My teacher would say that after everyone in the class has gotten the answer wrong (so) he’ll call me, Kgopa, to come and give the answer”.

“You don’t know the confidence boost that gives to a child. This is why I feel teachers have a very big role to play in improving the confidence of kids. I’ve always felt that you cannot improve mathematics results if you don't touch on the kids' self-confidence.”

“So the beginning of great results in mathematics is self-confidence, and I was given that very early in grade 7,” said Kgopa

He continued his love affair with mathematics after high school later attaining his BSc in Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Kgopa also trains maths teachers and has 12 years of experience in helping educators become better maths teachers.

Gelezatech has grown to become more than just a calculator brand. They have diversified and ventured into the supply of educational tablets which will allow students from the world over to access quality teachers through their online platform.

Additionally, Kgopa is taking his mission to provide affordable educational tools one step further.

“We’ve just gotten a corporate sponsor who has given us funds to start up a production plant to produce pencils. We are starting with 2 million pencils this year and we’ll ramp up to 7 million pencils next year. The pencils will cost only one rand for an HB pencil, he said.

“With us being able to do this in South Africa we’ll be able to create so much employment. We intend on opening Geleza stores and eventually start franchising them, you can imagine the number of jobs that’ll be created through that,” said Kgopa.

[email protected]

IOL Business