Back to Africa Check

No record of Mandela saying 'it always seems impossible until it’s done'

This article is more than 7 years old

“It always seems impossible until it’s done,” tweeted the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation this week. It attributed the quote to former South African president Nelson Mandela

But there is no record of Mandela saying these words.

Earlier this week we took a look at quotes that are frequently misattributed to Mandela. The Nelson Mandela Foundation’s quotes database shows no results for this quote.

The database, which “serves as a source for accurate quotations by Mr Mandela”, is a searchable catalogue of addresses made by South Africa’s first black president.

Nelson Mandela Foundation senior researcher, Sahm Venter, told Africa Check that while the foundation doesn’t know where the quote originated from, they have no record of Mandela saying it

detailed investigation by the website Quote Investigator looked into the possible origins of the quote.– 09/12/2016


Additional reading

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.