Stevenson Johannesburg is one of the most dramatically situated art galleries in SA. The building in which it occupies the ground floor, 62Juta Street, is hardly an architectural masterpiece. Once you are inside, the view through the big plate-glass windows of its front façade is not exactly beautiful. But this is Braamfontein — and that means there is always something interesting to see. Stevenson’s corner of Juta Street is, for the most part, a tranquil and tree-lined spot. Look south and your eyes are drawn skywards to the apex of the Nelson Mandela Bridge. That, however, is where the urban reverie ends. Across the road from the gallery are the headquarters of rubbish-removal company Pikitup. You know when you hear news headlines about striking Pikitup workers? That’s where they are. Protest action is a regular feature of life in Braamfontein.  Students from Wits University have been known to take to the streets in disciplined formation, although this tradition was tainted during...

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