'A Voice FORWELSH Culture in Patagonia Has Disappeared'

Article excerpt

Byline: Sion Morgan Reporter sion.morgan@walesonline.co.uk

ACHAMPION of the Welsh language in South America has died in Patagonia.

Tegai Roberts - described as "a cultural legend" - was 87. She was a direct descendant of the Welshmen who colonised part of Argentina almost 150 years ago.

Her funeral was held yesterday in Patagonia.

Born and raised in South America, Dr Roberts died on Wednesday in Trelew (Lewis' town), named after her greatgrandfather Lewis Jones, the first leader of the Welsh colony, which landed on the shores of Puerto Madryn in 1865.

Ceris Gruffudd, secretary of Cymdeithas Cymru-Ariannin (The Wales-Argentina Society), said: "With the passing of Dr Tegai Roberts, Patagonia has lost one of its finest interpreters of the history of the Welsh settlement.

"She was an expert on the history of the colony and on the early settlers and to those of us who had the privilege of knowing her, in my case for almost 40 years, we will remember her with great fondness and admiration.

"She was indeed a legend in the history of the colony."

Tegai was a grand-daughter of Llwyd ap Iwan, the son of Reverend Michael D Jones, whose dream it was to establish a Welsh colony in the Americas.

Llwyd ap Iwan was murdered at his business near Esquel by Messrs Wilson and Evans, exmembers of Butch Cassidy's gang.

Her other great-grandfather, Lewis Jones, was among labourers who constructed railway networks across the region at the end of the 19th century.

Tegai has been responsible for a weekly show on Radio Chubut de Trelew for more than 40 years, which featured Welsh music and local news.

A statement on the station's website said she allowed everyone "see Wales through her eyes."

With her death, they said a "militant voice for Welsh culture has disappeared."

Dr Roberts was also chief curator of the Welsh regional history museum in Gaiman since its opening in the 1960s. …