FACT CHECK: Did Nelson Mandela Say, ‘Fools Multiply When Wise Men Are Silent’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

The Facebook page U.S. Democratic Voices shared an image that claims former South African President Nelson Mandela once stated, “Fools multiply when wise men are silent.”

Verdict: False

The Daily Caller News Foundation found no evidence that Mandela ever made this statement.

Fact Check:

The image originated with American News X, a Facebook page with a history of sharing false information. (RELATED: Did Ben Carson Say, ‘Before Obama, People Barely Noticed Skin Color’?)

Mandela served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999 and is credited with helping bring an end to apartheid in the country. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Throughout his career, Mandela delivered many speeches and wrote multiple books. However, the quote featured in the image does not appear anywhere credible online, including the web archive for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“We cannot authenticate this quotation,” a spokesperson for the foundation told TheDCNF in an email.

While the origin of the quote is unclear, it has been widely attributed, without sourcing, to Mandela online. In 2017, CNN host Chris Cuomo tweeted out the saying.

Mandela passed away in 2013 at the age of 95.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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