Sindi-Leigh McBride

Sindi-Leigh McBride, a research associate at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), lights up when she talks about academia, human rights and politics. While her peers are obsessed with settling down to a family in a manicured suburb, 25-year-old McBride is working on how to conquer and change the world. She has just registered for her second master’s degree, in political communication, at the University of Cape Town, and says she hopes to complete two doctorates before she reaches the age of 30. Her first master’s was in international relations at the University of the Witwatersrand. “I am Stalinist like that. I work in five-year plans. I just want to school myself. You must be in school and getting smart,” she says. McBride’s first love at university was Law, but she quit after only a year, switching to a BA in Political Science and International Relations. She is currently employed at the SAHRC as a research associate to human rights commissioner Danny Titus in the Commissioners Programme. Her day-to-day duties include conducting research into law enforcement, the prevention of torture and criminal justice. McBride says she entered the field of human rights to do “a service to humanity”, but she now plans a career in academia and politics. “I want to be an academic and I’m interested in politics. I have seen people doing PhDs, leading amazing lives and travelling the world while other people are paying for it,” she says. Titus, a commissioner and McBride’s mentor at the SAHRC, says her future looks bright. “She has been a researcher with us for two years now and has been supportive. She is young and energetic. I was also struck by the fact that at such an age she was already doing her second master’s degree. She’s really someone to watch.” — Charles Molele