A FORMER Borders MP has travelled half-way round the world to visit the anti apartheid mecca of Lilliesleaf.

David Steel, who is the former president of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, has just returned from a two-day visit to South Africa.

The 78-year-old former Lib-Dem leader was the guest speaker at an event to mark the centenary of former ANC president Oliver Tambo's birth.

During the visit Lord Steel was taken on a visit to Liliesleaf farm - the remote hideout for the ANC leadership in the Rivonia district, just north of Johannesburg.

Lord Steel told us: "The farm was named after the village of Lilliesleaf - although spelled slightly differently - because it had been bought in the early 1960s 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."

Liliesleaf Farm was discovered as a hideout by South African security in July, 1963, and all were arrested, leading to the Rivonia trial and imprisonment on Robben Island.

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