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MOYO'S THE BOYO.

Byline: By Steve Tucker South Wales Echo

Wales' top volunteer worker is an asylum seeker who fled Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe in fear of his life.

Themba Moyo, pictured, was due to be presented with his Wales Volunteer of the Year Award at a ceremony at the National Assembly building in Cardiff Bay this evening for giving up his time helping other refugees.

It is a dramatic turnaround for 45-year-old Themba who, three-and-a-half years ago, had to leave the troubled African country with his wife Selina and their four children.

As a member of the opposition party to Mugabe, the Movement for Democratic Change, Themba was a constant target for the despotic president's henchmen.

'I was in Britain visiting my wife who was here studying for her Masters degree in broadcasting when I was contacted by my brother-in-law who was caring for my children,' said Themba, who now lives in Splott.

'He told me Mugabe's supporters had started following my children to school.

'It became too much for me, I had already witnessed many of my friends beaten until they were disabled or murdered.

'It is hard to describe such persecution - imagine every time someone knocks on your door you have no idea if it's a friend come to chat or a gang wanting to attack or kill you and your family.'

Now granted indefinite leave to stay in Britain, Themba volunteers at Refugee Voice Wales, which helps those seeking asylum, is chairman of the Zimbabwean Development Support Association in Wales and is a trustee of the Welsh Refugee Council.

'It is hard to leave your home country. I miss meeting friends and having a joke,' he said.

'Seeking asylum is frightening, many do have a negative image of you, you have to swallow your pride just to try to eke out a living.

'But I'm very proud to be honoured in this way.'

Third place in the Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards went to Paul Jenkins, 48, from Roath, Cardiff.

Blind since his early 30s, Paul has raised more than pounds 2m for charity by running more than 100 marathons.
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Article Details
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 7, 2005
Words:351
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