Feedback Piece

When I was a kid I wondered how many people might actually read my father’s Pieces of the Day buried in the classifieds Personal column of the Rhodesia Herald newspaper.

For 9 years or so he diligently researched and laboriously typed the pieces on his trusted Facit typewriter before hand delivering them to the Rhodesia Herald office in downtown Salisbury (Harare) for publication a few days later.

Aside from republishing his Pieces here and on other social media, I am also publishing them on biNu, a mobile internet app for emerging markets company I co-founded a few years ago that coincidentally has become quite a hit in Zimbabwe with 400,000 active users and growing.

The Lentell Soup feed on biNu is now getting 60,000 page views (hits) a day and continues to grow, to the point where most likely John is more widely read in Zimbabwe today than he could have imagined 45 years ago.

Here is an awesome biNu wall post and message I received today from biNu user Given Langton in Chitungwiza, just outside of Harare:

“…i know you have had so many posts on your wall but im quite sure non of them meant what mine means. First and foremost I would like to thank you for this awesome network. The main reason why I have write to you his blog is congratulate you on your Lantel blog. I read that blog everyday it will be a lie if I say it doesn’t help me, sometimes I even wonder what kind of a person your father was? these inspirations are old but yet relevent, your father was a hero sir! I am quite sure you would be proud of you too. I can see that you are appreciating his work Zimbabwe does too. i will always read it everyday.”

I know John would have been tickled pink.

Saturday’s Piece

Early morning (7 am) telephone conversation about a desk for sale in the Herald smalls:-
SHE – “I bought it from that chap ‘what’s his name?’ who is always writing in the newspapers….”
HE – (as soon as he could get a word in) “this is that chap ‘what’s his name?’ who is always writing in the newspapers speaking.”

John Lentell
Rhodesia Herald
2nd april, 1971

Sunday’s Piece

“I hope you are not afraid of microbes’ apologised the paying teller as he cashed the school teacher’s cheque with soiled notes. “Don’t worry,” said the young lady, “a microbe couldn’t live on my salary.”

John Lentell

13th November, 1970

Wednesday’s Piece

“Ronald said he was not prepared to give any undertaking not to see Mrs. A…. ‘I am prepared to marry her if she is willing,’ he declared. The chairman: ‘Then you will be remanded for a medical report.’ ”

John Lentell

23rd Augsut, 1970

Sunday’s Piece

“Dear Mr. Lentell,

You do write the most stupid rubbish that we have ever read. All this ‘unRhodesian’ which you keep writing about, what is so special about Rhodesia?

Signed

‘Rhodesian'”

(Part of an anonymous letter)

John Lentell

10th July, 1970

Friday’s Piece

“Dear Mr. Lentell,

Having heard people discussing your ‘pieces’ in the paper, I find they are all wondering what the motive is behind your putting them in. Is it to convey truth? Is it to amuse, or is it to satisfy your ego and to let you feel that 50,000 readers, or more, of the Herald, are not reading the ‘piece’, but looking at the name of John Lentell?

To prove the point is not the latter, I challenge you to put in the ‘pieces’ without your name below them.

Yours sincerely,

Curious”

(Anonymous letter – 15th Oct, 1968)

John Lentell

8th July, 1970

Monday’s Piece

“….our greatest hope is that you will produce many young Rhodesians, born and bred here, because they will be our greatest asset.” (Prime Minister – Rhodesia Herald 2/7/20)

“The 10 African Chiefs in Senate, some of whom are in their early prime and the rest probably still willing and able, between them have 101 children – at the moment. By the end of their first term of office there could be an additional 50, or 150….” (Letter to Rhodesia Herald 2/7/70)

John Lentell

4th July, 1970

Thursday’s Piece

“A young bride walked into a chemist and timidly asked if the baby tonic they advertised really made babies bigger and stronger. Assured that it did and that they had never had a complaint she bought a bottle. Minutes later she returned, took the chemist into a corner and whispered into his ear, ‘I forgot to ask – who takes it, me or my husband?’.”

John Lentell

27th June, 1970