Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa was born in 1947 in Soweto, Johannesburg. She matriculated in 1966 from the Immaculata High School in the Alexandra township. She then obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, specialising in Social Work, in 1974 and a Batchelor of Laws in 1990, from the University of South Africa.
Masipa was admitted as an advocate in 1991.
Prior to her law career, Masipa worked as a social worker as well as a crime reporter, which led to her interest in law. She worked for The World, Post and The Sowetan newspapers. She edited the Queen women’s supplement of Pace magazine.
In 1998, she was appointed as a judge in the then Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court of South Africa, becoming the second black woman to be appointed as a judge in the High Court after Lucy Mailula.
Masipa has also served in Gauteng’s Consumer Court Tribunal, the Estate Agents Affairs Board as well as in the Electoral Court of South Africa.
Her colleagues reportedly described her as respected, competent, eloquent, and reserved
In a 2003 interview with the Judicial Service Commission, Masipa supported greater transparency and interaction with the media to aid the public’s understanding of the judicial process.
She is one of the seven South African female judges featured in Courting Justice, a 2008 documentary film directed by Jane Lipman. She has contributed to case law on the constitutional duties of local government related to housing in her 2009 ruling on Blue Moonlight Properties v Occupiers of Saratoga Avenue.
Masipa is the presiding judge in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, held at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. She has appointed two assessors to assist her in the trial.
According to the spokesperson for the South African Judiciary, Masipa was not assigned to the case because of her gender.
Following her assignment to the high profile Pistorius case, her colleagues reportedly described her as respected, competent, eloquent, and reserved. – Edited by Tshepo Tsheole
Additional information obtained from Wikipedia