Leaves From the Fig Tree
by 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