South African Exhibition 2016

This exhibition is the 2nd in a planned series of exhibitions from 2015-2018 promoting South Africa-Turkey cultural relations and will feature various aspects of South Africa’s Women in the struggle for liberation from the Apartheid regime. The Exhibition commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Womens’ March in 1956 where 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the discriminatory pass laws which had restricted the movement of black people in the country.

The South African Embassy is very pleased to announce that Ms Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, an icon of the Women’s March in 1956, will be the special guest of the Exhibition on 1 September. Ms Williams-De Bruyn will speak on her experience during the Women’s March and the women’s’ struggle during this time.

South Africa celebrates Heritage Month in September and Heritage Day on 24 September every year as well as World International Peace Day on 1 September.

The exhibition will be opened on 1st September with a reception hosted by H.E. Ambassador Pule Malefane at Gallery Çankaya and will be open to the public from 2 September 2016.

The viewing hours at the Gallery Çankaya is from 09h30-18h30 until 29 September. Information on the exhibition is available to the public in Turkish. We look forward to welcoming visitors to our exhibition.

Sophia Williams-De Bruyn


Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, fondly called “Aunt Sophie”, is a living legend of the South Africa liberation struggle, who has contributed immensely to the dismantling of Apartheid.

She is known for leading 20,000 women in the Women’s March of 9 August 1956 on the Union Buildings in Pretoria, with the late Lillian Ngoyi, Albertina Sisulu, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa. The peaceful march was held to protest against having to carry the passes of the Apartheid system, which segregated the population. This protest march is commemorated annually since 1994 as National Women’s Day in South Africa on 9 August.

Aunt Sophie is less known for the many ways in which she humbly, but consistently, contributed to organising and training the resistance against the oppressive system and building the new democratic dispensation in South Africa. For helping bring the trade union and African National Congress (ANC) together. For training ANC cadres in Tanzania and Namibia while in exile in Zambia. For assisting to amalgamate the ANC’s and the South African government’s former secret services. For representing South Africa in Jordan, with her late husband Henry de Bruyn, the first black Ambassador to Amman. For serving on the Commission for Gender Equality, as a Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, as a Member of National Parliament, on the National Executive Committee of the ANC Women’s League. Currently she serves on the ANC National Integrity Commission, which deals with corruption in the party.

Aunt Sophie received numerous accolades and awards for her contribution in the various support structures and political campaigns and for the work she did in furthering the cause of liberation in South Africa. In 2013 she was one of the first recipients to receive the new Smart Card ID, which is printed on machines that are named after the women who led the march against passes in 1956.

In September 2016, 60 years after the Women’s March on Pretoria, the Sophia and Henry de Bruyn Foundation will be launched to promote and advance the legacy of Aunt Sophie and her late husband Henry de Bruyn and their life-long commitment to the principles and values of community upliftment, self-advancement and emancipation, commitment to hard work, integrity, Ubuntu, Africanism and internationalism.

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