Toke Makinwa's Unwavering Stance on Surname in Marriage

Toke Makinwa discusses her decision not to adopt her husband's last name.

Toke Makinwa has revealed she didn’t officially change her surname to her husband’s when she got married because her name is a brand she has worked hard to build.
She admitted that while it wasn’t even an issue in her former marriage, it sort of made things easier for her when they got a divorce, as she didn’t have to go through the stress of a name reversal.
Makinwa stated that when she remarries, she will still not change her name or hyphenate (to make it a compound name), but her kids can bear their father’s name.

Traditionally, in most cultures and most parts of the world, when a woman gets into a marriage with a man, it is expected that she take on his last name. Unlike other places where some women choose not to take on their husbands’ last names, in Nigeria, it still remains the norm, and it is very rare to see that not being the case.

For Toke Makinwa, her decision to retain her maiden name symbolizes a commitment to her individual identity and professional accomplishments. In a world that is gradually evolving to embrace diversity and gender equality, her choice challenges the conventional norms that dictate a woman’s obligation to adopt her husband’s surname.

Toke’s perspective on this matter extends beyond the mere act of retaining her maiden name; it embodies the idea that a woman’s identity is not subordinate to her marital status. By choosing to keep her surname unchanged, she emphasizes the importance of selfhood and independence within the framework of marriage.

The media personality has clarified that her decision is not a stance against tradition or an act of defiance. Instead, it is a deliberate choice made in recognition of the value she places on her personal brand and the identity she has built over the years. Toke Makinwa’s journey serves as an inspiration for women who may be grappling with societal expectations, urging them to prioritize their individuality.

However, media personality and businesswoman Toke Makinwa has, on her podcast, opened up about the reason she never bothered to change her last name during marriage and doesn’t intend on doing so in her next marriage either.

The media personality, who was once married but got divorced due to alleged infidelity on the part of her ex, revealed he wasn’t the kind of person who would push a woman to change her name. Toke Makinwa said it wasn’t ever up for discussion, revealing that her ex-husband had a married sister, a top doctor, who didn’t pick up her partner’s name either.

Toke Makinwa, who was recently in Dubai for the COP28, added that her name is a brand she has worked hard to build, and even if she gets married again, she still won’t change her surname, but her kids can take up their father’s name.

In her words:

“I kept my last name when I get married. It was supposed to be Toke Makinwa-Ayida but it was only at home that he called me Mrs. Ayida, but I was always called Toke Makinwa.

But he understood as well because he came from a family where his sister was a doctor, an OBGYN, a very top one, and she’s always still known as Dr. Ayida, so he never had a conversation with me about baby, why can’t you change your name? Like he wasn’t wired that way, he didn’t care.

I hope that whoever I end up with next would actually love it because Toke Makinwa is staying. I don’t want to hyphenate, I’m not taking anybody’s last name. My name was and is Toke Makinwa. My kids can bear their father’s surname.

In my marriage, my passport, my bank details, nothing changed. We divorced, thank God it didn’t change [laughs]. Imagine what I would have gone through trying to change it back, “please help me o! I used to be former Ayida, I need to become Toke Makinwa my name”, no! I’ve built this brand with blood, sweat, and tears.“

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