Alberto Goncalves’ name might not be well known all over but silently behind the scenes, he is trying to make a difference with his contribution towards the Portuguese community in Cape Town.
Besides being a businessman, Goncalves also finds himself chairperson of the Portuguese Cultural Centre as well as an active member of the Amigos Portuguese.
The Portuguese Cultural and Welfare Centre of Cape Town or Portuguese Cultural Centre as it is more well-known is a none-profit organization (NPO) that sets out to help people who are of Portuguese descent or have some kind of connection to the Portuguese community in Cape Town.
Run from a community hall in Parow and owning two houses right next to each other, they are currently helping families that are in need.
“One of the houses has three families living in it. The other home we would like to turn it into a Neighbourly Old Age Home (NOAH),” Goncalves said.
This idea sparked after he realised that there was a need for Portuguese old age homes in the community. The house has been recently purchased and currently there is a couple living in it.
Not only does the Portuguese Cultural Society help families with a place to stay but through sponsors and fund raisings they try and help people financially as well.
“All our funding is donations and come from functions that are held, we have a voluntary catering group that cater to help. They do weddings and small birthdays which help pay for things. The Blessing of the Fleet is where we make most of our funds,” he said.
Goncalves has been coming a long way with the Portuguese Cultural Centre and his involvement in the Portuguese community stretches as far back as in his teens.
“When I was 15-years-old I was encouraged by my uncle, Antonio Martins, to get involved in doing the sound for the Portuguese Folk Dance Group of Cape Town. I was also a drummer there and practiced at the Portuguese Association in Milnerton. When there were festivals, the church would ask me to set up the public address system. Through the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet Festival which the church held, I got involved with the Portuguese Cultural Centre,” he said.
The Portuguese Cultural Society was formally started in 1989 as a group effort by Judy Virisimo and “Nettie” Lopes.
Goncalves encourages everyone to make a difference in their community especially the youth.
If anyone would like to get involved in helping the Portuguese community,Goncalves advises that they speak to their priest or go to the Portuguese consulate. Alternatively The Portuguese Cultural Centre can be reached by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org .