It’s that time of the year again. November, commonly known to the beard gang as ‘Movember’. We celebrate and take part in it by shaving and growing out our beards but what is it really about?

Through the history of Movember, there have been two defining stories about the origin of this month. According to Wikipedia, ‘Movember is a portmanteau of the Australian-English diminutive word for moustache’. In layman’s language, this basically means that it is an assortment or combination of words. In the case of Movember, these words are Moustache and November. The first story states that it started out as a cause for men to grow out their moustaches in the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer. This version also claims that the concept was created in 1999.

The second version of the story states that Movember was started in the year 2003 by two friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, who met up for a quiet beer which turned out to be a discussion about the moustache and whether they could bring the trend that was popular back in the 70’s back into style. They found 30 men willing to try out the challenge and they also incorporated charity into it. This has now become the only charity tackling men's health on a global scale. The Movember Foundation has one goal: to stop men dying too young. The moustache is their ribbon - reminding the people in your life of the importance of men’s health. Why grow a moustache you ask? 'Men are facing a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. They are dying too young, before their time. We’re taking action and we need your help. This Movember, Grow your moustache for men’s health.' (

There are different ways to get involved. One of the ways is by not shaving in the month of November and saving that money that would have been otherwise used to buy razors or at a barbershop and donating it to the cause. There are other ways of getting involved and more information can be found here

Women have become part of this initiative and are referred to as Mo Sistas. These are the women who encourage their men to grow out their moustaches and ensure that they have gone for their health check-ups. Their motto is, “love the mo, and ask mo bros if they’ve had their annual health check!” So if your lady is on your case about shaving this month, school her about how she’s not doing her part (at your own risk!)

Today, some men do this as a statement and have made it ‘no shave November’. The beard gang has been shaving it all off and growing it out then posting the progress on social media just for the sake of the month. Whichever version of the stories you choose to go with, the underlying concept remains the same.

Here at Mandevu, this Movember, we are talking men's health and encouraging men to encourage their fellow men to take better care of themselves. Move conversations beyond greetings and REALLY check up on your bros. You good, man?

Words: Ciku Kimani
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