Highlighting African communities in Lisbon

Through the Associação Cultural e Juvenil Batoto Yetu Portugal, work is carried out to reach “children, young people and adults interested in African culture”, reinforcing the idea that, whatever the economic context, everyone deserves recognition and “appreciation”. of their cultural roots.

The association was founded in 1996 and is supported by the Municipality of Oeiras and the Luso-American Foundation. It is also recognized by the High Commissioner for Migration (ACM) as a Representative Association of Immigrants and their Descendants, having also obtained the status of public utility.

African history

The most recent ambition of the Associação Cultural e Juvenil Batoto Yetu Portugal is the construction of a bust in memory of Pai Paulino, a well-known figure in Lisbon and a great defender of the rights of black people in the 19th century. Today, he is buried in the Alto de São João cemetery, the only place where black people could be buried at the time. In addition to the construction of the bust, the association also plans to place 20 plaques, signaling the presence of African history in certain places in Lisbon, such as the Rossio.

The bust will be implemented in Largo de São Domingos, according to information provided to The news from Portugal. A 180 cm stone construction with the identification of the honored historical figure, in the case of Pa Paulino.

Blind in one eye, Pai Paulino arrived in Lisbon from Brazil, where he landed in Mindelo with the Liberal troops in 1832. He belonged to the Marine Brigade and was decorated for his courage. Whenever he could, he gave his support to the African communities residing in Lisbon, solving problems related to the Letters of Freedom, for example. Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro also paid homage to Pai Paulino in a glazed clay bust in 1894.

The integration

The construction of the bust in Largo de São Domingos has a historical explanation. It is here that the African communities of Portugal were able to see their integration into Lisbon society easier. Currently, the place continues to have great importance for the African communities residing in Lisbon, so it is considered “the ideal place for the construction of a bust” and the placement of an identifying plaque. Pa Paulino.

The main objectives of this action are the promotion and support “of actions aimed at representing important Portuguese personalities of African origin”, unknown to the common population of Lisbon. The dynamism of the memory of African history is also an objective to be achieved, as well as the promotion of “dialogue and deepening of Afro-descendants in Lisbon”.

The action that could be appreciated by all Portuguese also aims to act as an attraction for students, “through the projects in force in the association with partner universities and schools”. Since the project aims to make stories known, the material provided by the association can be quickly visible and easily accessible to “researchers and scholars who travel to Lisbon” to study “the history of the African presence in Portugal”.

Historical relevance

Actions will be taken to promote the bust of Pa Paulino so that it can be integrated into guided tours and promote the recognition of a historical figure of significant importance in the history of African communities in Portugal.

Finding funding for the action has not been an easy task, as such, the association appeals to the solidarity of all those interested in the dissemination of African stories in Lisbon and, therefore, throughout the country. Currently €6,000 is needed to place the finished material on the streets of Lisbon.

Sustain Associação Cultural e Juvenil Batoto Yetu Portugaldonations can be made to IBAN PT50 0033 0000 00046237854 35.

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