Charley Boorman Log- Day 32

July 14, 2012

In which Charley visits the renowned chef David Higgs, and the lovely Liliesleaf farm.IMG_8942

We’re off to a good start this morning, as I’m meeting one of South Africa’s finest chefs in the kitchen of one of the countries’  best hotels.

His name is David Higgs and after running a number of award-winning, must-visit restaurants he’s now the resident chef here at The Saxon.

Once we’re through the heavy security gates, it’s hard not to be a little dazzled by the hotel and it’s surroundings. There are also a few alert gentlemen in suits and earpieces at the front door. Apparently there’s a high profile guest staying here. We don’t know who, but it’s that kind of place.

Inside, David is cooking us a traditional South African breakfast of boerewors, chakalaka and pap (beef & pork sausage, spicy pickle and a mashed potato-like porridge made from maize, for anyone who’s not from South Africa) – all accompanied by Mrs. Balls Chutney, of course.

IMG_8922The food is amazing and it’s fascinating to watch a great chef work. David’s a really nice guy, too and it couldn’t have been a better breakfast in more luxurious surroundings.

By way of contrast, this afternoon we pay a visit to Liliesleaf Farm, a secret headquarters of the ANC and other banned political parties during the early 1960’s – Until a police raid blew the cover and lead to one of the biggest trials in the history of Apartheid.

Back then, it was a remote farmhouse surrounded by fields. Now Johannesburg has spread out to swallow it, and the house is now a lovingly preserved museum in a quiet suburb of the city.

Nicholas Wolpe, who’s father was part of those banned movements, now runs the site and he took me for a lengthy and detailed tour of this fascinating place, leaving no detail untold.

Liliesleaf Farm is a focal point of the history of this country and a place I’m glad I visited.

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