Originally from Togo, Naky Gaglo moved to Lisbon five years ago. Fascinated by the African presence in the city, he soon realised he couldn’t easily find accounts of that presence. His research eventually led him to create African Lisbon Tour (https://africanlisbontour.com), the first (and so far, the only one) walking tour in Lisbon that traces the African presence in the Portuguese capital since the early days of the slave trade.
“Although that was a significant part of [the Portuguese] History, not a lot of people know much about it, so I decided to transform my findings into a tour of the city of Lisbon.”, Naky told Lonely Planet. “I’m particularly interested in the history of slavery and colonialism, and I approach both topics on this tour”.
The meeting point for the tour is Praça do Comércio, a public square in downtown Lisbon, steps away from Tagus River and the former port of Cais das Colunas. After asking the participants to introduce themselves briefly, Gaglo positions the square as the old and main port of entry for African slaves in Europe. What follows, is a walking tour of three to four hours through six areas in Lisbon associated with different periods of African presence in the city. A lot more places are marked on the paper map he hands out at the beginning of the tour. As his research progresses additional information is added to the tour.
To keep the conversation going, Naky always ends the tour with a meal at a local African restaurant. Although not included in the price of the tour, most tour-takers don’t turn their backs on the opportunity. “[To me] It’s important to finish the tour at a local restaurant and taste their delicious food. It’s a crucial moment for the group to discuss the tour, exchange knowledge, and bond," he said.