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From Roodepan gravel to high court gavel


In June 2022, Bartholomew Ford was nominated to act as a judge of the high court by the South African Bar Association.

Bartholomew Ford. Picture: Supplied

WHO WOULD have thought that a little boy from Roodepan in Kimberley would one day preside in court and be responsible for swinging the gavel?

Well, that is exactly what happened to Bartholomew Ford. Ford was born and raised in Kimberley where he grew up in Pescodia, also affectionately called Roodepan by residents. He completed his schooling at Homevale Secondary School in the late 1980s and went on to commence his tertiary education at the University of the Western Cape, where he obtained a BA.HDE degree and qualified as a teacher.

After a short teaching stint at Pescodia High School, Ford relocated to Johannesburg in the early 1990s where he took up employment in a wide range of corporate and non-profit organisations. It was during this period that Ford took a stoic interest in Labour Law and completed his BA. Honours in Labour Law at the University of Johannesburg.

Fuelled by his love for music and the law, he enrolled for a B.Mus degree at Wits University and thereafter an LLB at Unisa. His Labour Law interest resulted in him joining the CCMA as a commissioner and he later became a senior part-time commissioner. In his latter capacity, he was appointed editor in chief of the Labour Law Magazine ‘Labour Focus’.

Ford was then admitted as an advocate in 2011 and after completing his pupillage, he practised as a member of the Johannesburg Bar. In June 2022, he was nominated to act as a judge of the high court by the South African Bar Association, which nomination he accepted with much humility and grace.

Ford’s mother, Molly Ford, is his biggest inspiration and he is eternally grateful for the sacrifices she and his dad made for him and all his brothers and sisters.

Asked if he had any advice for the youth of today, Ford was unequivocal: “Respect your mother and your father, work hard, stay far away from substances, read as much as you can and invest in your ongoing education,” he said.

Then added, “I believe it is possible for one to rise above the circumstances you find yourself in, pursue and achieve greatness.”

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