A sincere request

A very long time ago, I was at an art exhibition. The UCT students can put on a spectacular show, let me tell you.

At this exhibition, I found the single artwork that brought me to my knees. My heart, my mind and yes, even my physical body…I didn’t care who saw me, I was in love. Later on, I reflected on the art I had discovered and assumed the foetal position and I cried until I fell asleep at about 4am. Yes, that’s how intense the art was.

Her name is Puppy and she is a beautiful pavement special only has 3 legs. I have never seen anyone so happy, she may have only three legs but her tail will wag until her whole body is shaking from side to side. Eat your heart out Shakira! I get nervous when she loses her balance and falls. She really breaks my heart. Her faithful best friend, Vincent, shared the poems in the images before sending this request to the powers that be…

Dear Professor Buhlungu,

I am currently working on a self-published collection of poems and photos. I am also homeless, and this makes finding safe spaces to work hard. During the weekdays, I work at one of the various libraries, but their hours are a hard limit.

As someone with your publication list surely knows, preparing a book is nearly impossible when restricted to regular hours, especially if a large segment of that time is taken up by work search.

As you can imagine, Cape Town after hours isn’t a place where it is advisable to haul out a laptop and type away. I ask you, with a fair amount of desperation, to allow me to use the seating space outside the Michaelis cafeteria after 6pm until 10.30pm at the latest during the week, and in the afternoons and evenings during the weekends. As I have my own computer, there would be no need to use any of the University’s resources other than a minimal amount of electricity for battery charging purposes.

I realise this is an unconventional request, but I make it in the spirit of the university as a liberal institution supporting the arts and the broader community. I have included two sample pieces of my work so that, if you like, you may get a sense of what I am working on and that it is a legitimate artistic project.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this,

Vincent van der Zee

Professor Sakhela Buhlungu

My request is, if you’re an art student at UCT, you may have seen Vincent around and I hope you would be willing to support his request somehow. If not, no hard feelings, it takes a lot of energy and a lot of us are just trying to live ourselves. If you can, even by sharing his letter, that would be awesome.

Thank you




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