ASI 2006 Reports – Portugal – Sandra Mussagy

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I came here to talk about Mozambique. But I also lived in Portugal, and before I start talking about the situation on the continent, in Mozambique, I would like to talk about what happened to us Africans in Portugal. I am talking about people that came from the ex-Portuguese colonies. They moved to Portugal after independence, because the situations in their own countries were not the best situations.

So, we have a big community of Africans in Portugal. They come from Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, and they have been there for quite a long time.

They have been struggling. My generation was taken there by our parents. Some of us were born there, and from the beginning we had to face racism and discrimination.

My generation actually tried to make the point saying that “We are Africans, we are not Portuguese,” even though our parents were trying to integrate themselves into the society. My generation was saying “No, we don’t belong to this society because you are discriminating against us and making racist statements and remarks against us,” and we are facing that from six years old.

They used to call us names in school and say “go back to your country.” That’s the way we grew up.

That’s why, if you met young people from the ex-Portuguese colonies that grew up there, they are angry because they had to struggle. They didn’t have job opportunities. There was discrimination in school. Police are always after us for minimal things.

Also, there were skinheads in Portugal. Actually I lived in this neighborhood in Portugal where there was a big community of Africans from all of the countries that I talked about.

Nearby there was a group of skinheads. They killed some of our brothers. We used to hang in groups because that was the only way we had to protect ourselves.

We organized ourselves to deal with the skinhead problems in Portugal. We even had situations where some of our brothers had to carry guns to protect our neighborhoods, to protect our schools because they would come to our schools as well.

Portugal is a small country, but a lot is happening there. Nowadays, a lot of the Africans there are moving. They come into the UK, they move to France, they move to Holland, because we don’t have any opportunities.

The doors are closed basically for us there. That is one reason why I decided to move.

I said to myself, “What is it that I am doing in a country that does not give nothing back to me? I just have to go back to my Africa. That is where I belong. “


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