The Portuguese community in South Africa is held together by the Portuguese Forum which was started in 2003. Manuel Esmeraldo decided to give us a little more background and tell us about his involvement.
Manuel tells us that the Portuguese Forum (PF) was started to unite the Portuguese community. This was done by means of a march in Johannesburg.
“They nominated a president to represent each province two years after the forum was established in Johannesburg. I was nominated as president for the Western Cape,” Manuel said.
After his election Manuel said that he has been trying to unite the Portuguese community and that now, they as a forum were starting to see the fruits of their labour as the Portuguese community have started to recognise them.
One of the ideas that the Portuguese Forum started with was to have a Portuguese representative in parliament. Manuel explained clearly that the emphasis was on a representative and not to start a political party. He also mentioned that it seems as if they are making headway with their plan.
“When an institution forms government is against it but when a community comes together the government can’t,” he said.
One of the biggest contributing factors to Manuel joining the Portuguese Forum was the zealous love he had for his people.
“I struggled all the years to make ends meet and when I see others struggling it touches me. So, where I can try and help my community, I do,” he said.
Manuel explains that one of the projects that the Forum undertook was to build two football fields for the youth. This project took three years but to Manuel, it’s all about helping the community.
Being a voice for the Portuguese community, he encourages anyone who needs to make contact with the Portuguese Forum to contact the forum on 086 111 1126.