LINKS between a village in the Borders and the world's most iconic anti-apartheid base are about to be strengthened.

Liliesleaf Farm near Johannesburg was the nerve-centre of the underground movement fighting apartheid in South Africa during the early1960s.

ANC leader Nelson Mandela along with other leading campaigners such as Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Bram Fischer, Joe Slovo, and Ruth First lived and conspired on the remote 28-acre farm.

The liberation movement operated their fight for democracy and equality from Liliesleaf for almost two years before a security police raid on July 11, 1963.

Today the iconic Liliesleaf Farm is a museum dedicated to the fight for freedom.

And next week the chief executive of the museum, Nic Wolpe, will visit Lilliesleaf in the Borders.

The local community council will mark the occasion by hosting a tea party in the village hall.

Chair Carolyn Riddell-Carre told us: "We are going to host a tea party for Mr Wolpe in the Currie Memorial Hall before giving him a tour of the village.”

The South African farm in the Rivonia district was bought by David Fyffe, who had farmed near Lilliesleaf in the Borders for many years before immigrating.

It was sold in 1961 to anti-apartheid sympathisers but retained its Borders-name.

And for almost two years the likes of Nelson Mandela, disguised as a farm worker, plotted the downfall of the apartheid regime.

While in the Borders next week Mr Wolpe will meet a descendant of the former owners of the farm.

And he will be given a short talk on the history of the village.

Mrs Riddell-Carre added: "We are asking Mr Wolpe to give us a short talk about his Liliesleaf and retired archaeologist John Dent is going to provide a short talk about our Lilliesleaf.

"We think it is rather like a twinning and an entirely proper use of our funds so we are not going to charge for anyone wishing to attend the party."

Mr Wolpe's visit to the Borders comes just a few months after former Borders MP and prominent anti-apartheid campaigner David Steel visited the South African farm.

Lord Steel told us: "The farm was named after the village of Lilliesleaf - although spelled slightly differently - because it had been bought by a family named Fyffe who had lived near the Borders village.

"They subsequently sold it to a South African who provided the secluded hiding place where Nelson Mandela wore blue overalls as a disguised farm labourer.

"The farm has now been turned into a magnificent inter-active exhibition of the freedom struggle complete with restaurant, but retaining the original farmhouse... it includes an aerial photograph of the Borders village."

Lord Steel brought back mementos of the farm which he donated to Lilliesleaf, Midlem and Ashkirk Community Council.

And these will be on display at next week's celebration in the Currie Memorial Hall.

The two historical talks will take place on Thursday (May 25) from 4pm to 5pm.

If you would like to attend email community council secretary Clare Hay by e-mail or call on 07932 862021.