Making Mossel Bay Portuguese once again

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1977
Making Mosselbay Portuguese once again

On the 3rd February 1488, Bartholomèu Diaz and his Caravelle must have been a spectacular sight, arriving in Mossel Bay, equally so, I believe, was the arrival of the Amigos Portugueses rumbling into Mossel Bay on their thundering Harley Davidson’s and their three support vehicles.

The amigos and amigas made this journey together with the Portuguese Folk Dance Group who were once again invited, by the city of Mossel Bay and the Diaz Museum, to come and perform their folk dances. Also present was our very own Kanimambo, a seven piece salsa band.

Friday evening was spent having dinner together and enjoying the firework display as well as an aerobatic display.

On Saturday the day started with everyone coming together to prepare for the parade. The bikes had to be cleaned and the flags mounted. Our black pick-up vehicle and trailer had to be decorated with a multitude of palms as it was going to carry our accordion player, Liliana, Mr. Ferdinando Rodrigues, who plays the Bandolim and the singer, Theresa.

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As soon as everything was done and everyone was ready to join and start the parade, the heavens opened up and started to bless us all with its rain, but as the saying goes, “the show must go on” and that is exactly what happened. The folk dancers, young and old, walked in the rain through the town and onto the festival site followed by the Amigos Portugueses on their crawling, over heating bikes. The dancers were all soaking wet, but as true proffesionals, they prepared themselves to go up on stage and perform their various folk dances.

Just a few hours rest for everyone and it was time forour amazing band, Kanimambo to perform. We got up on stage to elevate everyone’s dampened spirits with our lively salsa music and with Carlos giving his amazing rendition of the fado.

Next we all got together to relax, enjoy each other’s company, celebrated a birthday, lit the fires and made our famous espetadas. Let’s not forget our signature drink nowadays, Poncha. There are some that claim this drink has healing properties!

One of our Amigos, Aires Justino, managed to get stung by a scorpion and Johnny da Silva serenaded his wife, Vera, for her birthday.

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Sunday morning was spent packing, loading the vehicles and then heading to the Diaz Museum where our folk dancers had been asked to come and give a personal performance in front of guests and invited dignateries, such as, the Portuguese Consul General, Catarina Arruda, the French Consul General and the Mayor of the Eden district.

Our folk dancers got a standing ovation and the young dancers impressed the audience especially.

Our return journey commenced and at a fuel stop outside Swellendam, a few of the macho bikers had to put their egos aside and push one of the stricken bikes to get it started.

We then headed through to Robertson for a late lunch and a bum rest, but little did we know that we were about to be confronted with a blinding setting sun as well as heavy cross winds. This, making that last leg the most difficult of the whole trip, but we all made it home safely, tired but alive. Having completed a great weekend together and having represented the Portuguese Community of Cape Town with pride, we look forward to making more memories such as this.

By Henrique da Silva

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