The Trailblazing Judge Who Will Decide Oscar Pistorius’ Fate

Enlightening… #keepingitreal

TIME

It took balls for Martha Mbhele to say she wanted to be a lawyer. Growing up in apartheid South Africa on a white-owned farm in Lindley, a rural town in the country’s agricultural heartland, the practicing attorney and acting high court judge said black women in the legal system were unheard of. “If there was a lawyer it would be a white male,” the 40-year-old said, “there weren’t many role models one could look up to.”

Today, it couldn’t be more different. Over the next two weeks, High Court Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa, a 66-year-old woman from an impoverished township, will hear the final arguments from the Oscar Pistorius defense team, as the Olympian stands trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Between the gore and sensationalism of the Pistorius trial, the fact that Masipa is judging the case has been celebrated in a country where the law has…

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