The association was founded in 1996, and is supported by the Municipality of Oeiras and the Luso-American Foundation. It is also recognised 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 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 during 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 intends to place 20 plaques, reporting the presence of African history in certain places in Lisbon, such as Rossio.

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

Blind in one eye, Pai Paulino arrived in Lisbon after coming from Brazil, where he docked in Mindelo with liberal troops in 1832. He belonged to the Navy Brigade and was decorated for his courage. While he could, he provided support to the African communities residing in Lisbon, solving problems related to letters of liberty, for example. Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro also paid tribute to Pai Paulino in a bust made of glazed clay in 1894.

Integration

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

The main objectives of this action are the promotion and support of “actions aimed at representing important Portuguese people of African origins”, 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 promoting “dialogue and in-depth study on Afro-descendants in Lisbon”.

The action that could be enjoyed by all Portuguese also seeks to act as an attraction for students, “through the projects in force in the association with universities and school partners”. Since the project aims to make stories known, the material provided by the association may be quickly visible and easily accessible to “researchers and academics who head to Lisbon” to study the “history of the African presence in Portugal”.

Historical relevance

Actions will be carried out to promote the bust of Pai Paulino so that it can be integrated into guided tours and promote the recognition of a historical figure of important relevance 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 spreading African stories in Lisbon and, consequently, throughout the country. At the moment, €6,000 are needed to place the finished material on the streets of Lisbon.

To support Associação Cultural e Juvenil Batoto Yetu Portugal, donations can be made to IBAN PT50 0033 0000 00046237854 35.