‘African women should retain their surnames after marriage’ – Martha Karua

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 25 Aug, 2023 14:32 | < 1 min read
Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua at a past rally.
Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua at a past rally. PHOTO/Courtesy

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua has issued a statement against African women dropping their surnames and adopting their husbands' names.

Karua was responding to reports that according to Ethiopian culture, women do not drop their father's names even after marriage.

According to Karua, the same has been in practice in the African culture but changed due to colonialism.

"It was the same in many African cultures, a woman retained her surname even after marriage. My Paternal grandmother’s name was Mwaa Njogu (daughter of Njogu). The erasure of a woman’s surname of birth is a relic of colonialism," Karua wrote.

According to the report by African Hub, a platform that tells African stories, Eritrean and Ethiopian women do not change their names to that of their husbands after marriage.

"Did You Know a Woman doesn’t take her husband’s name after marriage in Ethiopian and Eritrean culture, she continues with the father's name. Ethiopians are universally addressed by their first name and the father's name takes the place of a surname. A woman does not change her name to that of her husband after marriage," the report stated.

Currently, in most African countries and the world, women adopt their husbands' names as their second or third names after marriage, automatically dropping their surnames.