I can't say what Randfontein offers that would warrant the excursion, but it may be that the fate of the free world depended on it, or not.
Either way you'll drive past Azaadville; home to 67 Facebookers who've chosen to disclose it as their hometown on their profiles, and one who rose to recent notoriety for being the alleged purveyor of Matric exam papers.
A raid on his house by the Johannesburg Flying Squad Reservist Unit and the subsequent email Fwd:FW: floods were precipitated by the following Facebook status update:
"***** ****** is if all u matric peeps r needin papers.. i no sum ppl, dat nos sum ppl dat robbed sum ppl, that robbed the department... so if u want papers.. jus leme no (",)."
Azaadville is a small town by any definition of 'small town'. Even the term 'town' is too generous for the locale. Designated as an indian-area in the dark-days, the residents have remained pre-dominantly conservative Muslims, Hindus and Christians.
Despite its size and unassuming mien, Azaadville has managed to find itself peppered across newsprint from time to time.
Pre-1994, the town provided shelter for residents in neighbouring Swanieville who were wracked by political violence. Its high school was re-named Ahmed Timol Secondary by former President Nelson Mandela, after the school teacher and anti-apartheid activist who died while in police custody. It was home to the "man they called Banjo" as well as nascent cricketing talent Gulam Bodi who bowled many an over in the local fields.
And now Facebook has brought new focus on Azaadville.
This would be a truly pioneering case if investigations prove that the 'Ville Facebooker in question was in possession of the stolen examination papers. It would be the first time in South African history that a person's actions on an internet social-networking platform result in legal action.
But what does this mean really? Riyaadh Ebrahim posited the implications around arresting someone based on their Facebook status message. He gives the following example, "If my Facebook status says that I am going to kill someone, can I be charged with intent to murder?"
He claims it's a curtailment of the freedom of expression.
I changed my status to 'Saaleha is going to kill Riyaadh Ebrahim at 10.30 tonight in the study using a brass candlestick.' This is obviously a statement that won't be taken seriously by any authority.
The 'Ville Facebooker claimed he was joking.
"***** ****** is if all u matric peeps r needin papers.. i no sum ppl, dat nos sum ppl dat robbed sum ppl, that robbed the department... so if u want papers.. jus leme no (",)."It certainly reads like a joke. In fact, if any aspirant matriculant read that and thought it was legitimate, I'd say, "Go ahead and try your luck, you obviously need all the help you can get."
Online social transactions will never epitomised by credibility. You take what you read with a gram of coke. Didn't they learn that on IRC?
And then of course, you can flip this thing over on its side. There was the anonymous caller to the crime tip-off line. What if the 'Ville Facebooker really had the exam papers? Now there's a nomination for Most Retarded Net-User Of The Year.