The traffic on Jan Smuts Avenue in Johannesburg had slowed to a standstill, so I parked my car and walked the remaining few hundred metres to the Goodman Gallery. This required me to navigate a stretch of pavement strewn with more than the usual detritus of the city: there was rubbish aplenty, but also tattered blankets, unidentifiable bundles and makeshift cardboard mattresses. There was no one nearby, but it was clear that until recently people had been sleeping there. Both the litter and the abandoned belongings gave the impression of a hasty departure; perhaps the rough sleepers had been chased away. My first instinct was to turn my face from the ugly scene, an assertion of indifference, coupled with mild resentment about this unsightliness, whatever its cause. Then my better angels reminded me, briefly, that sympathy (not pity, but fellow feeling) was the more appropriate response. Either way, I quickly put it out of my mind: I was on my way to an art gallery, dammit, I had lof...

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