Leaves From the Fig Tree

Leaves from the Fig Tree by Diana Duffby Diana Duff

An extraordinary life shared by an extraordinary raconteuse.

‘The Kikuyu people … were to me fascinating … the descriptive way in which they spoke of things … One spoke to me once of years passing and conjured up a picture of a great fig tree, the leaves falling, each leaf another year of his life.’

Born in Africa, Anglo-Irish by descent, Diana, aged two, travelled from Johannesburg to Ireland, to Annes Grove, a stately Georgian home with world-famous gardens, with talk of horses, rare plants and fishing juxtaposed with tales of banshees, the little people, ráths, the foxy-haired ghost and visits from Elizabeth Bowen, Vita Sackville-West, David Cecil and many others.

Aged 18, Diana returned to Africa, where she doubled for Grace Kelly in ‘Mogambo’, met Raymond Hook, the king of cheetah racing, befriended the legendary Ewart Grogran and unwittingly employed a Mau Mau leader. Ever one to stand up for what is right, she challenged the authorities at the height of apartheid – and won!

With humour, eloquence, empathy and candour, Diana shares her return to a place from her childhood, where family truths are learned, along with the realisation that Africa has real magic all of its own.

Published December 2010


4 Comments to Leaves From the Fig Tree

  1. elizabeth lyons rasmussen says:

    I have just finished reading Leaves from the Fig tree and many of my memories of growing up in England flooded back.My father’s roots were from Cork,County Cork,however there were relatives of his who lived in Johannesburg during the 50s until their deaths in the early 70’s.I remember being sent postcards of Table Mountain and a beautiful black young girl in native dress.Also my mother would receive from them,dried fruits to make Christmas cake and pudding during the post war years.I enjoyed the second half of the book with stories of life in Africa.Thank you for a wonderfully written memoir.

    • Jayne says:

      Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write – Diana will be delighted you enjoyed the book and that it brought back so many memories. Please tell all your friends!

  2. I have gone through part of the book and I must admit it sounds interesting. tried looking for a copy in the bookstores here in kenya but was not lucky. The old chief Socrates Gitau Karanja was my grandfather.

  3. Mitchell Annesley Adams says:

    I have just finished ready this wonderful book for the second time, I read it many years ago and after having visited Annesgrove and meeting the cousins there. Jane and Patrick were wonderful and it was such a wonderful step back in time, I don’t think much has changed inside the house since Diana’s great great grandfather died in the early 1800s. I have been researching my Annesley ancestors for 20 years and found them and their descendants so interesting Mitchell in Australia

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