Sophia Williams-De Bruyn
|Sophia Williams-De Bruyn|
Villageboard, Port Elizabeth
|Known for||anti-apartheid activist|
Sophia Theresa Williams-de Bruyn (born 1938) is a former South African anti-apartheid activist. She was the first recipient of the Women's Award for exceptional national service. She is the last living leader of the Women's March.
Williams-De Bruyn was born in Villageboard, an area that was home to people of many different nationalities. She says that her mother's compassion for others helped her develop a sense of empathy. She dropped out of school and started working in the textile industry. Workers in the Van Lane Textile factory asked her to help "solve their problems with factory bosses," and she eventually became the shop steward. She later became and an executive member of the Textile Workers Union in Port Elizabeth.
Williams-De Bruyn was a founding member of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). After the government introduced the Population Registration Act in the 1950s, she was appointed as a full-time organizer of the Coloured People's Congress in Johannesburg.
On August 9, 1956, she led the march of 20 000 women on the Union Buildings of Pretoria along with Lilian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, Helen Joseph and Albertina Sisulu to protest the requirement that women carry pass books as part of the pass laws. After the Coloured Population Act passed, Williams-De Bruyn was assigned by the Coloured People's Congress to work with Shulamith Muller on issues relating to pass laws.
In 1999, Williams-De Bruyn was awarded the Ida Mntwana Award in Silver. In 2001, she was the first to be awarded the Women's Award for exceptional national service and in the same year received the Mahatma Gandhi Award.
- Ndaba, Baldwin (9 August 2006). "Memories of the Long March to Freedom". The Star. Retrieved 13 September 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (. ))
- "Sophia Theresa Williams de Bruyn". South African History Online. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Chernick, Ilanit (26 August 2015). "'Women Still Need to Be Assertive'". IOL. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Blue plaque on the front of Rahima Moosa House mounted in 2013 as part of Johannesburg Heritage.
- "Sophia Williams-De Bruyn". SAWW Annual Awards. Retrieved 13 September 2016.