200 African Baby Names and Their Beautiful Meanings

Updated February 22, 2022
Mother playing with baby boy

When a baby is born in Africa, large celebrations and festivities follow the birth. A baby naming ceremony is a common ritual to welcome the newborn into the community. The pronunciation of an African name is of utmost importance, as even one misplaced syllable will greatly affect its meaning, and an incorrect inflection can be considered an instant insult. Therefore, the following list of African baby names includes phonetic spellings in parentheses.

African Baby Names

In African cultures, a baby's name is believed to be the most treasured possession, as it can survive even death. It is often thought that the name given to a child can influence both the child and the family, which is why African baby names hold so much meaning.

African Spiritual Names for Boys

These African spiritual names for sons are rich and packed with religious meaning and faith-based feeling. A son who dons one of these monikers is certainly loved and cherished by his family.

  • Abdalla (AB-DAUL-LAH) - Servant of God in Swahili
  • Abdu (AB-DOO) - Worshiper of God
  • Abubakar (AH-BOO-BAH-CAR) - Father-in-law of Prophet Muhammed in West African
  • Adom (AH-DOHM) - God's blessing
  • Barack (BAA-R-AA-K) - Blessed
  • Chiamaka (CHEE-AM-ACK-AH) - God is splendid
  • Chikae (CHE-KAY) - God's power; West African name
  • Dakarai (DAH-KAH-RAH-EE) - Rejoice; South African Shona name
  • Enam (EH-NAHM) - God's gift
  • Haji (HAH-JEE) - Born during the hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca
  • Issa (EE-SAH) - God is salvation
  • Khalid (KHAH-LEED) - Eternal
  • Muhammadu (MOO-HAH-MAHD-OO) - Praiseworthy in West African
  • Olugbala (O-LOO-BAH-LAH) - God of the people
  • Uchechi (OO-CHAY-CHEE) - God's will
  • Umi (U-MM-EE) - Life

African Spiritual Names for Girls

A little girl is certainly a gift from the heavens above, and these stunning spiritual names reflect just that. These African girl names bear spiritual meaning and roll beautifully off the tongue.

Person teaching a baby girl how to walk
  • Abeni (AH-BEH-NEE) - Girl prayed for in West African
  • Aisha (AH-EE-SHAH) - Life
  • Dalili (DAH-LEE-LEE) - Sign or omen
  • Goitsemedime (COAT-SAY-MO-DEE-MEH) - God knows; long African name
  • Imani (E-MAN-E) - Faith in Swahili
  • Khadija (KAH-DEE-JAH) - Born premature (Muhammad's wife)
  • Malaika (MAH-LAH-EE-KAH) - Angel
  • Mawiyah (MAH-WEE-YAH) - The essence of life
  • Rukiya (ROO-KEE-YAH) - Ascend or rise up

Regal African Boy Names

Whether you choose an African boy name meaning king or another princely pick, these names let the whole world know that your baby boy is truly something special.

  • Abioye (AH-BE-OH-YAY) - Son of royalty; African surname
  • Addo (AED-OW) - King of the road in Ghana
  • Kgosi (KHO-SEE) - King in Tswana
  • Mandlenkosi (MAHN-DLEN-KOH-SEE) - Strong king/chief long name in Zulu and Ndebele
  • Nkosana (KOH-SAH-NAH) - Prince in Xhosa
  • Obayana (AH-BAH-YAH-NAH) - The kings warm by the fire
  • Shaka (SHA-KAH) The name of the Zulu tribal leader, sometimes compared to Attila the Hun
  • Taj (T-AH-J) - Exalted
  • Zane (Z-AI-N) - Well-born, noble

African Girl Names With Royal Meaning

These baby names are fit for a queen and perfect for your newest arrival. They are lovely choices for a baby of African heritage who is destined to be a leader someday.

  • Adaeze (UH-DAY-ZAY) - King's daughter in Western African
  • Bolanile (BO-LAH-NEE-LAH) - Our treasure in West African
  • Nkosazana (N-KO-SAH-ZAH-NAH) - Princess in South African
  • Thema (TAY-MAH) - Queen Ulu (OO-LOO), second-born female in West African
  • Urbi (OOR-BE) - Princess
  • Zalika (ZAH-LEE-KAH) - Well-born

Male African Names With Meanings Inspired by Nature

Many cultures turn to the natural elements surrounding them to help them with baby name inspiration. Whether the meaning behind these monikers represents weather, animals, or plant life, they all make darling names for a new addition.

Father kissing happy son while carrying at park
  • Addae (AH-DAH-EH) - Morning sun
  • Gowon (GO-WAHN) - Rainmaker
  • Jafari (JAH-FAH-REE) - Stream
  • Mashama (MAH-SHAM-BAH) - Leaves
  • Ndulu (N-DOO-LOO) - Dove
  • Njau (N-JOW) - Young bull
  • Othenio (O-THEE-NEE-O) - Born at night
  • Simba (SEEM-BAH) - Lion in South African
  • Wambua (WAHM-BOO-AH) - Born during the rainy season
  • Yonas (YOO-N-AS) - Dove
  • Zahur (ZAH-HOOR) - Flower

Female African Names Derived From Nature

She is as pretty as a flower and as sweet as a lamb. Give your baby girl an African name rooted in nature.

  • Ayana (AY-YA-NA) - Pretty flower
  • Lulu (LOO-LOO) - A pearl
  • Kamaria (KAH-MAH-REE-AH) - Like the moon in Swahili
  • Mesi (MEH-SEE) - Water
  • Panya (PAHN-YAH) - Mouse
  • Rabiah (RAH-BE-AH) - Spring
  • Sanura (SAH-NOO-RAH) - Kitten-like
  • Zahra (ZAH-RAH) - Flower

African Girl Names Based on Traits and Characteristics

Names in African culture reflect the person's hopes, dreams, and aspirations. They can also provide insight into important cultural or socio-political events at the time of their birth. This selection of African names for baby girls highlights a parent's wishes for their child.

  • Abrihet (AH-BREE-HET) Shines with light
  • Afiya (AH-FEE-YAH) - Health in West African
  • Alake (AH-LAH-KEH) - One to fuss over
  • Amina (UH-MEE-NUH) - Trustworthy
  • Anika (AH-NEE-KAH) - Sweet-faced
  • Anuli (AH-NOO-LEE) - Joyous in West African
  • Asha (AH-SH-AH) - Lively, woman, life in Swahili
  • Aziza (AH-ZEE-ZAH) - Precious
  • Bahati (BAH-HAH-TEE) - Fortunate
  • Chipo (CHEE-PO) - Gift in South African; also common African surname
  • Dada (DAH-DAH) - Child born with curly hair in West African
  • Ebun (EH-BOON) - Gift
  • Faizah (FAH-EE-ZAH) - Winner
  • Folayan (FAW-LAH-YAHN) - Walking proud
  • Habiba (HAH-BE-BAH) - Sweetheart
  • Halima (HAH-LEE-MAH) - Kind and patient, gentle
  • Jaha (JAH-HA) - Dignity
  • Jamila (JAH-ME-LAH) - Elegant
  • Kali (KAI-LEE) -Energetic
  • Mandisa (MAN-DEE-SAH) - Sweet
  • Leila (LAH-EE-LAH) - Dark beauty
  • Muteteli (MOO-TAY-TAH-LEE) - Dainty
  • Nabelung (NAH-BEH-LUNG) - Beautiful one
  • Naeemah (NAH-EE-MAH) - Benevolent and contented
  • Nailah (NY-EE-LA) - Successful
  • Nombeko (NOM-BEH-KO) - Respect
  • Nomusa (NO-MOO-SAH) - Compassionate in South African
  • Oni (O-NEE) - Desired in West African
  • Salihah (SAH-LEE-HAH) - Virtuous or correct
  • Sanaa (SAH-NAA) - Work of beauty in Swahili
  • Sekai (SAY-KAH-EE) - Be humorous in Shona
  • Urenna (OO-REN-NAH) - Father's pride
  • Yamina (YAH-ME-NAH) - Of moral excellence

African Boy Names Based on Revered Qualities

You pray he grows up strong, virtuous, and kind, so give him an African boy name reflective of the qualities you hope he possesses.

Father putting baby son to sleep on his arms at home
  • Ahmed (AH-MUH-D) - Praiseworthy
  • Akiki (AH-KEE-EE-KEE) - Friend
  • Amare- (UH-MAH-REH)- Possesses great strength
  • Bem (BEHM) - Peace
  • Bomani (B-OH-MAH-NEE) - Great warrior
  • Chionesu (CHEH-NEH-SOO) - Guiding light
  • Fenyang (FEHN-YANG) - Conqueror
  • Gamba (GAM-BAH) - Warrior
  • Hansani (HAH-SAH-NEE) - Handsome
  • Hondo (HAH-N-DOH) - Warrior
  • Ishaq (ESS-HAHK) - Laughter
  • Jaja (JAH-JAH) - Honored
  • Kellan (KEH-L-EH-N) - Powerful
  • Lateef (LAH-TEFF) - Gentle and kind
  • Mwai (MWAH-EE) - Good fortune
  • Nassor (NAH-SOR) - Victorious
  • Oladele (AH-LAH-DEH-LEH) - Honored at home
  • Omar (O-MAR) - Flourishing
  • Rafiki (RAH-FEE-KEE) - Companion
  • Rudo (ROO-DOH) - Love in South African
  • Sadiki (SAH-DEE-KEE) - Faithful
  • Salehe (SAH-LEH-HEE) - Good
  • Salim (SAH-LEEM) - Safe and secure
  • Tahir (TAH-HEER) - Chaste
  • Talib (TAH-LIB) - Seeker of knowledge
  • Thadiwe (TAN-DI-WAY) - Beloved
  • Themba (TEHM-BAH) - Hope in South African
  • Unika (OO-NEE-KAH) - To shine
  • Yafeu (YAH-FEH-O) - Bold
  • Ziyad (ZEE-YAAD) - To become greater
  • Zuberi (ZOO-BEH-REE) - Strong in Swahili

Popular African Baby Names

These notable names are popular ones chosen by parents looking for African baby names to bestow upon a son or daughter.

  • Aba (AH-BAH) - (Female) Born on Thursday
  • Abagbe (AH-BAH-BEH) - (Female) Child that was wished for
  • Abena (AH-BEH-NAH) - (Female) Born on Tuesday in West African
  • Ada (AH-DAH) - (Female) First-born female
  • Adesina (AH-DAY-SEE-NAH) - (Female) This child opens the way for more children
  • Amahle (Ah-MAH-SHE) - (Female) The beautiful one in Zulu; third most popular name for girls in South Africa
  • Jabari (JAH-BAH-REE) - (Male) Brave; African surname
  • Keisha (KEE-SHAH) - (Female) Favorite
  • Kofi (K-OH-FEE) - (Male) Born on a Friday in West African
  • Nia (NEE-AH) - (Female) Purpose in Swahili
  • Omari (OH-MAH-R-EE) - (Male) God the highest
  • Zola (ZOH-LUH) - (Female) Peaceful
  • Zuri (ZUH-OO-REE) - (Female) Beautiful in Swahili

Unisex African Names for Babies

If you are looking for a gender-neutral African name for your new baby, then these options will work for whomever you welcome into the world.

Father admiring newborn son
  • Abayomi (AH-BAH-YO-ME) - Bringer of joy
  • Akuchi (AH-KOO-CHI) - Wealth from God in Igbo
  • Abimbola (AH-BIM-BAW-LAH) - Rich child
  • Ayo (AH-YAW) - Full of joy
  • Desta (DES-tə) - Full of pleasure
  • Enzokuhle (ENZO-COOL) - Do well, do good
  • Femi (FEH-MEE) - Love me
  • Lethabo (LE-TA-BO) - Happiness
  • Melokuhle (MEH-LO-COOL) - Stand for what is right

African Boy Names With Interesting Meanings

These lovely African boy names and meanings are unique and interesting. If you want to give your child a name with deep African roots and an unusual meaning behind it, then any of these make a great choice.

  • Aswald (AHS-WALD) - Black
  • Bandile (BAND-EEL) - The family is growing; South African name
  • Jengo (JEHN-GOO) - Building in Swahili
  • Kafele (KAH-FEH-LEH) - Worth dying for
  • Kapeni (KAH-PEH-NEE) - Knife
  • Kufuo (KOO-FOO-O) - Father shared the pains of birth
  • Sekani (SEH-KAH-NEE) - Laugh in Tumbuka
  • Mandala (MAHN-DAH-LAH) - Spectacles
  • Mazi (MAH-ZEE) - Sir
  • Madu (MAH-DOO) - People
  • Obi (O-BEE) - Heart in Western African
  • Paki (PAH-KEE) - Witness
  • Sefu (SEH-FOO) - Sword in Swahili
  • Selassie (SUH-LASS-SEE) - One that refers to a trinity
  • Taye (TAI) - He who has been seen
  • Useni (UW-SEN-EE) - Tell me
  • Walid (WAH-LEED) - Newborn
  • Zikomo (ZEE-KO-MO) - Thank you in South African

African Girl Names With Unique Meanings

Give your daughter an African name with a one-of-a-kind meaning. These lovely monikers are beautiful choices with interesting meanings behind them.

  • Alkebulan (Al-KEH-BOO-LAN) - Mother of Mankind; said to be the oldest name for Africa from indigenous African origins
  • Aluna (AH-LOO-NAH) - Come here
  • Bayo (BAH-YO) - Great joy a child brings to a family
  • Fujo (FOO-JO) - Born after the parents have separated
  • Hawa (HAH-WAH) - Longing
  • Kibibi (KEE-BE-BE) - Little lady
  • Linda (LEEN-DAH) - Wait
  • Ode (O-DEH) - Born along the road
  • Ikuseghan (EE-KOO-SHE-HAN) - Peace is better than war; long African name
  • Ramla (RAHM-LAH) - Predictor of the future
  • Suma (SOO-MAH) - Ask
  • Tale (TAH-LEH) - Green
  • Teleza (TAH-LEH-ZAH) - Slippery
  • Umm (OOM) - Mother
  • Waseme (WAH-SEH-MEH) - Let them talk
  • Ye (YEH-EH) - Elder of twins

African Baby Names Based on Days of the Week and Birth Order

Some African cultures select baby names based on days of the week or birth order. It is a common practice for the Akan people of Ghana to name their children after days of the week. Other African baby names represent birth order or events related to births.

  • Adika (AH-DEE-KAH) - (Male) The first child of a second husband
  • Akua (AH-KOO-AH) - (Male) Born on a Thursday; African surname
  • Anane (AH-HAH-NEH) - (Male) Fourth son
  • Atu (AH-TOO) - (Male) Born on Saturday
  • Jojo (JO-JO) - (Male) Born on Monday
  • Kizza (KEEZ-SAH) - (Male) Born after twins
  • Kontar (KOHN-TAR) - (Male) Only child
  • Kwasi (KWAH-SEE) - (Male) Born on Sunday in West African
  • Mosi (MO-SEE) - (Male) First-born in Swahili
  • Akua (AH-KOO-AH) - (Female) Born on Wednesday
  • Ama (AH-MA) - (Female) Born on Saturday in West African
  • Asya (AHS-YAH) - (Female) Born at a time of grief
  • Chuki (CHOO-KEE) - (Female) Born during a time of hatred
  • Efia (EH-FEE-AH) - (Female) Born on a Friday
  • Hasana (HAH-SAH-NAH) - (Female) First-born twin
  • Koko (KO-KO) - (Female) Born second
  • Naki (NAH-KEE) - (Female) First-born girl
  • Neema (NEH-EH-MAH) - (Female) Born during good times
  • Omolara (O-MO-LAH-RAH) - (Female) Born at the right time in West African
  • Sisi (SEE-SEE) - (Female) Born on a Sunday

Diversity of African Baby Names

Understanding the meaning of a name may help with your selection. Whether you choose a popular name or one that has special significance within your family, selecting an African name for your child provides the opportunity to choose a name with great impact.

Was this page useful?
200 African Baby Names and Their Beautiful Meanings