About Masculinity and Health

The Masculinity and Health Research Unit (MaHRU), based at Unisa’s Institute for Social and Health Science, is a SAMRC funded extra-mural unit which primarily focuses on injury and violence, and how it relates to boys and men. Globally, men tend to have a shorter life expectancy than women, are disproportionately involved in injury and violence as victims and perpetrators, and less likely to access healthcare.

While MaHRU’s research portfolio is underpinned by the masculinities theme, its research recognises several intersecting material, social, and psychological drivers of the country’s high rates of injury and violence. The Unit’s research is supplemented by an orientation towards community-mobilising interventions, research-based advocacy, and public dissemination. 

The Unit has been led by Prof Ashley Van Niekerk from 1 April 2021 and is organised around three research groups:

  • Violence
  • Injury Prevention
  • Injury Information, and Monitoring and Evaluation Systems


The Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit (VIPRU) migrated to the South African Medical Research Council/University of South Africa Masculinity and Health Research Unit (MaHRU) from April 2020.