According to the Movember Foundation, the state of men’s health around the world is in a crisis. Men, right across the globe, are dying too young and often, not always, but often it is because men have simply been apathetic about their health.
The Movember Foundation, along with other organisations like it, have spearheaded a movement, which seeks to create much needed awareness about men’s health issues. One such campaign takes place in November every year, when men grow their moustaches to help create awareness about this.
We spoke to men from around the world, in attempt to establish what the movement means to them and how much work still needs to be done, to create awareness about men’s health matters.
From many of the responses, the impact of the movement is clear and positive. However, in others an indication is given of just how much work there is to be done.
Walter Tumushiime – Human Resource Manager in Cape Town
“Movember is done to create awareness for prostate cancer. I understand it is becoming more and more common these days. And the growing of a ‘mo’ is to encourage men to learn more about it and hopefully get checked regularly. Personally Movember does not mean that much to me, as my knowledge of prostate cancer has come more from conversational engagements (with his doctor) not necessarily brought by the initiative.”
Bernard Ernst – Software Developer in Cape Town
“Movember is about the nearly lost art of growing stylish moustaches, starting on the first day of November and finishing on the last day, to compare. Usually progress is measured along the way.”
David Rush – Newspaper Editor in Port Shepstone
“It doesn’t mean too much to me really, as it takes forever to grow anything of significance. I understand it (Movember) has tremendous significance though.”
Lawrence – Activist in the United Kingdom
“Originally Movember was a laugh to do with mates. But after getting involved it was an amazing movement to be behind. The fact and figures that you get provided with really help educate yourself about men’s health. It is always a fun thing to do for a month and creates great fun in the office, where you can compete with other teams to see who can raise the most money and look good or funny doing it.”
David Thackwray – United Kingdom
“Well, personally I have never been a fan of facial hair and after the length it gets to after more than 3-4 days I have to shave it off. As well as the fact that you look like a hillbilly from backwater Alabama I choose not to do it. But I see the humour and value of the exercise for charity.”
Msawenkosi Dladla – Civil Servant in Bloemfontein
“For me, it is not about the beard on the outside, it is about the beard on the inside. Which is caring for one another. Basically!”
Lukhona Mnguni – Political analyst in Eastern Cape
“Movember is an awareness campaign that infuses style (moustache fashion) and social awareness to start conversations on men’s health – mainly prostate cancer. It is an opportunity to be cool while attending to one of the less (or taboo) spoken about topics.”
Carl Leisegang – Admin Officer in Canada
“Movember is an annual, month-long campaign to highlight awareness and raise funds for cancer (prostate, I think!?) Personally, I haven’t had any involvement in Movember because well, it would take me a year to grow enough fuzz on the upper lip to constitute anything close to a ‘stache. But it’s a great cause and a fun way for hairy men to mess around with their faces for a month and get away with it…”
Stephen Smith – Accountant in Secunda
“Movember is just growing the craziest moustache you can for the month of November.”
Simbongile Nyokana – Financial controller in Gauteng
“Well my knowledge about it, is that it attempts to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer. Men grow beards, funds are raised and donated to the various foundations, research agencies, charities and even people. It’s an important initiative because very few men get tested for it and it can kill.”
Nqaba Mpofu – Social Activist in Cape Town
“I understand Movember to be a movement advocating for men’s health, especially against cancer. In as much as I get the need to highlight health issues confronting men, since men are generally those who neglect their health, I do have some reservations about the movement. The movement seems to target and generally pitches Movember to a generally white population or to those that have proximity to white people. They have not been inclusive in their approach and pitch. For example, a lot of rural and black men do not know about the movement. In this regard, there is bias towards white men as those who stand to benefit from the movement.”
Ntando Mpofana – Rugby Player in Durban
“Movember as I recall is the annual growing of a moustache by men, in November, to raise awareness for a variety of male health problems such as prostate cancer just to name one. With many charities being run to support the “Movember” movement, it is clear to see the importance that this awareness program has.”
Vishal Ramphal – Media Officer in Durban
“I know Movember is all about male prostate and testicular cancer awareness. I rate the movement has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. It’s good to see that it’s not only the hipsters who don the ‘mo’ nowadays. Movember for me is all about male empowerment as well as awareness of course. It’s great to see a campaign that is focused on the last bit of masculinity in today’s society. I’m up to grow my ‘mo’ in support of South African men.”
Mzwandile Hlope – Pilot in Johannesburg
“For me personally it means nothing, I know no one around me who has taken part in it and I couldn’t even if I wanted to cause my moustache would be very hard to spot. I have nothing against it though I’m sure it’s good fun.”
Kyle Steyn – Self-employed in Port Shepstone
“Well since my mom had cancer , Movember means a lot more to me. It used to mean growing a dodgy moustache for cancer. Now it means getting the awareness out there. Cancer not only happens to women. It’s happening to men and young men at that. The more moustaches grown in November the more aware people become of cancer and how rife it is nowadays.”
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