This new year keen observers of Anerlisa Muigai have noted one very important change on her most important social media page, Instagram.
And what’s that, you ask? That she finally added the surname, Mnyang’anga to her profile. Not only that, the Keroche heiress also added the proud line, wife of Tanzanian singer Ben Pol.
While the addition might look innocuous to some, I see a lot more significance to it. Why? Let’s first take a quick dive into history.
Historically, a person’s surname was not considered all that important. In early medieval England (which Kenyan laws and customs heavily derive from), most people were known only by one name, their “Christian name,” which was conferred at baptism.
But as the population grew, it got tiresome trying to distinguish among the many Thomases or Annes (or Richards or Marys), so surnames arose, often based on lineage, occupation, or locale.
Still, the matter of a wife taking a husband’s surname didn’t surface in English common law until the ninth century, when lawmakers began to consider the legalities surrounding personhood, families, and marriage.
Thusly (as they would say), the doctrine of coverture emerged – and women were thereafter considered “one” with their husbands and therefore required to assume the husband’s surname as their own.
Under the concept of coverture, which literally means “covered by,” women had no independent legal identity apart from their spouse.
Actually, this “coverage” began upon the birth of a female baby – who was given her father’s surname – and could only change upon the marriage of that female, at which point her name was automatically changed to that of her new husband.
There were many downsides to the coverture laws but for this article, I am interested in the definition above. Anerlisa has come from a very wealthy family and has most likely never needed a man’s resources or validation but with Ben Pol she has seen something-a man she can submit to and respect.
That it hadn’t happened earlier shows me that the couple might have been dealing with some issues soon after they got married mid-last-year.
But I think they have worked on them and their impressive show of togetherness in late 2020 was of a couple that had probably ironed out their issues.
As a result, the Nero Water Company CEO saw someone that she could let lead and was content to be under the cover of Ben Pol.
This name addition is no joke, people! It is an admission from the high and mighty (and I say that without any malice) Anerlisa has found a man that can satisfy her hypergamy.
This is a gigantic vote of confidence by the billionaire heiress in the primacy and headship of her man in their relationship.
But I could be wrong…