Nelson Mandela surprised fellow 90-year-old anti-apartheid stalwart
Albertina Sisulu on her birthday today in a rare public gathering of
the ANC’s old guard.

Sisulu was married to the late Walter
Sisulu, Mandela’s friend of 62 years whom he called “my brother,” and
who was jailed alongside him for nearly three decades during South
Africa’s white minority rule.

A smiling Mandela was announced as
the wheelchair-bound Sisulu’s “surprise guest” at a birthday event
where he later shook hands with teenage heart surgery patients of a
paediatric cardiac centre named after her late husband.

former nurse played an active role in politics and was arrested, banned
and held in solitary confinement several times during the apartheid era.

Mandela turned 90 himself back in July.

Africa’s former president and Walter Sisulu were jailed in 1963 and
released a year apart with Sisulu the first to leave prison in 1989.

the moment when we first met he has been my friend, my brother, my
keeper, my comrade,” Mandela said in tribute at his death in 2003.

“I now know that when my time comes, Walter will be there to meet me,” he said.

Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa has carried out
heart surgeries on 223 children from South Africa and about a dozen
other African countries since its inception five years ago.