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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Food festival celebrates refugees
Members of Wrexham's refugee support group
Members of Wrexham's refugee support group
International cuisine from countries as far apart as Iraq and Zimbabwe has tempted the tastebuds of the public in Wrexham as part of its Refugee Week celebrations.

Food including traditional African corn-based dishes and Turkish lemon cake were some of the delicacies.

The food festival was held at Wrexham's Methodist Church.

Wrexham Refugee and Asylum Support Group (WRASG) member Nelly was one of the chefs for the day.

She and fellow Zimbabwean Dorothy prepared sadza, an everyday dish in the country.

She told BBC Wales' news website: "You use maize - sweetcorn as you call it - to make flour and cook it with just water.

"It becomes like mashed potatoes. We don't put salt or sugar in it.

"You'd eat it with any savoury dish - chicken, mincemeat, vegetables, sugar beans.

"It's a staple dish, a substitute for rice or potatoes. We can't afford them so we have it because we can grow it."

Nelly said she missed the food from her homeland and had to go to shops in Liverpool or Manchester which imported stuff in order to get ingredients.

If somebody in the town had the foresight to stock some of the food they miss, they'd never be short of customers.
Elaine Jones

She fled Zimbabwe's capital Harare three years ago for political reasons as a result of the Mugabe regime there.

Her daughter Victoria, whose African name Tatenda means "thank you", was born at Wrexham's Maelor hospital.

"I came here an asylum seeker. I was in a detention centre and I didn't have any relatives [in the UK] so they brought me to Wrexham," she explained.


Nelly now lives on the Caia Park estate, where she started attending the support group.

Elaine Jones from WRASG said there were foods from Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Eritrea, Sri Lanka and Kurdistan - and Wales.

And she believes an enterprising businessman could plug a gap in the local market.

"People have to travel to Manchester or even London to get the food they need.

"If somebody in the town had the foresight to stock some of the food they miss, they'd never be short of customers."

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