08 Nov


Don’t MO it, GROW it!

During the month of November, we all see men growing their moustaches, trying to emulate Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. I myself was asked by my firm to grow mine, probably or so I thought, for the sole purpose of posting a selfie at the end of November on our Social media pages. Never one to just partake in something without knowing why (and making a fool of myself by looking like a 1980’s police-officer), I decided to do some research into the origins of Movember, with the hope of finding a deeper meaning. I certainly did!

According to Wikipedia, Movember is a “combination of the two words, “mo” for moustache and “November”. It is an annual event that involves men growing their moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, more specifically for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.”

So, where did it all start?

In 2003, two Australian friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, met up for a beer and they came up with the idea that would eventually be “Movember.” They found 30 guys willing to take up the challenge to grow their moustaches (which was a dying trend) for cancer awareness and men’s health issues. These guys and girls willing to grow their “mos” are referred to as Mo Bros and
Mo Sistas. Movember was born!

In 2006, Movember reached official charity status in Australia.

In 2010, Movember officially hit the motherland of South Africa in partnership with CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa). Through its funding, the world’s first Prostate Cancer Genome Mapping Project was completed, which assists us in understanding of how prostate cancer works. It was also through Movember funding alone, that it was possible for the University of Michigan to identify that there are over 25 different kinds of prostate cancer.

Today, Movember is ranked in the top 100 NGOs (charity) in the world, based on three primary criteria: impact, innovation and sustainability. (just to note that there are over 5 million NGO’s in the world, so this is no mean feat). The Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have grown to over 5,5 million and currently over 1250 men’s health projects has been funded. Movember has raised over R5 billion in support of men’s health issues.

Globally, a man dies by suicide, every minute. In South Africa, 75% of suicides, are male. Prostate cancer is the number 1 cancer affecting men in South Africa. Statistically, 1 out of 19 men will develop prostate cancer. Testicular cancer will affect 1 out of 270 men globally.

Taking part in Movember is more than just a selfie at the end of November. It’s about showing support for men world-wide that struggle with health issues. It’s a sign that we acknowledge each other as men, as humans and that we stand in solidarity for something that affects us all.

If Faf de Klerk can meet a Prince in his underwear, I can and shall proudly grow my moustache!

Elbe Young
Miltons Matsemela
Movember 2019