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The Archbishop’s new mural

Dear Arts and Culture,

Let me start by commending you for choosing Archbishop Desmond Tutu as the subject of your latest mural on the eastern façade of Cape Town’s civic centre.

I must, however, question the timing of the project.

The artwork shrouds my department in complete darkness with a devastating effect on plant life and office morale over the winter months. One would expect better judgement from a well-funded government department such as yourself.

Please note this email comes from a place of understanding, but also concern that the entire civic centre might soon be covered in murals.

– Sincerely, City Planning

Dear City Planning,

Thank you for your email outlining concerns around the Desmond Tutu mural. Although critique of cultural matters fall well outside your field of expertise, we appreciate your keen observation noticing the piece.

It is our understanding, however, that the mural was well received by tenants of the civic centre. Although the damage to flora is regrettable, we’d like to point out that many plant species such Chinese evergreens do very well in the dark, as do plastic plants.

Furthermore, we’d like to point out that the planning department’s recently installed bicycle lanes along some of the most dangerous streets in Cape Town – although aesthetically pleasing – do little to ease inner city congestion. According to reports the lanes are used by skateboarders only, most of whom are unemployed.

Likewise, please note that this reply comes from a place of understanding but also concern that the city might come to a complete standstill. — Sincerely, Arts and Culture

Dear Arts and Culture,

A quick Google search has shown Chinese evergreens are not available for purchase in South Africa, thereby putting it out of reach of cash strapped state employees. Plastic plants might indeed solve the problem, but it is my view — and I think you’ll agree — that imitation plants are unbecoming of a country claiming to be “alive with possibility”.

Regarding the bicycle lanes, I’ve been informed the high-risk layout of the routes to be a direct result of my team working in the dark. Consisting entirely of government employees, the planning department is not made up of miracle workers and requires natural light to perform its duties in an energy-saving environment.

We therefore humbly ask that you hold off on future murals so as to assist us in our work. — Sincerely, City Planning

Dear City Planning,

We propose commissioning an artist to draw up a very large map of the Peninsula so as to assist your team in their task of plotting the safest routes for redundant cycling tracks.

We’re also open to your artist drawing a map next to the archbishop’s mural, which will make your job as easy as staring out of the window. Alternatively, you can solve the city’s congestion problems by A) forgetting about the bicycle lanes and planning more roads or B) fixing the railway system. — Sincerely, Arts and Culture

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