48 African Baby Names For Boys & Girls

African Baby Names

Choosing what to name your child is one of the most important decisions you can make. These inspired African baby names for boys and girls have a rich, beautiful history that will set your child apart and prepare them for a proud legacy. You won’t regret choosing one of these fantastic names.

Top African Baby Girl Names

Top African Baby Girl Names

If you want your child to stand out from the crowd with a rich name that invokes a proud African heritage, these beautiful African baby girl names certainly fit the bill. Some of them are relatively common and even popular in the United States. Others are much more obscure and translate to beautiful phrases in native languages all across the continent.

Setting your baby girl up for a lifetime of success and prosperity starts with an excellent name. All of these beauties work well for both first and middle names, and many of them have alternate spellings, so you can choose the one that works best for you and your family.

Many of these African baby girl names can also be shortened into nicknames, giving your baby girl a lot of latitude to personalize her name as she grows up. Since a powerful, graceful, and strong baby name is easily the best thing that you can bestow upon your child from birth, consider choosing one of these great baby names from the amazing continent of Africa.

Anika

Anika is a traditional African name meaning “sweet-faced.” It’s a clever, cute name that you can shorten to “Ani” as your little girl grows. It’s currently very popular, so you can bet that your precious one will be the only Anika in her class.

Barika

If you want to give your little girl a strong name that sets her up for a bright future, Barika is an excellent choice. This name is Arabic for “successful.” Although most Barikas are little girls, it also makes an excellent unisex name.

Cleopatra

It doesn’t get more regal than Cleopatra. This Egyptian name means “glory of the father” and is the namesake of one of Egypt’s most influential rulers. One of the most incredible things about this particular name is that you can customize it to your liking. Little girls can be Cleo, Clea, or Kleopatras.

Deka

Deka is a beautiful, authentic African name meaning “pleasing.” You can spell this lovely name in a number of different ways, including Decca and Dekka. Deka is another tremendous unisex name that is traditionally used for girls but can certainly double as a boy’s name or unisex middle name.

Eshe

This African-Swahili name means “immortal” or “life.” It’s a new variation on the more popular “Asha” and one of the most unique names you can give to your child. Eshe works beautifully as a first or middle name.

Feyisa

Although the most famous Feyisa is male Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa, this African name is mainly associated with little girls. It means “healer” and is an excellent name for your child if you want to invoke a sense of peace and tranquility.

Gamada

Gamada is a unisex name that works very well as a first or middle name for little girls. Gamada means “glad” or “pleased” and is of African origin, although you can find the name in Indonesia as well. It’s a highly uncommon name that’s lovely and unexpected.

Hadiya

Hadiya is a relatively uncommon name. Only a handful of girls born in 2020 were crowned with it, which is a huge shame because it’s absolutely breathtaking. Hadiya means “gift” in Kiswahili. It also loosely translates to “guide” or “leader” in Arabic, making it one of the most powerful names that you can bestow on your little one.

Imani, A Common Name For African Baby Girls

Imani is an Eastern African and Swahili name that means “faith.” You can also spell it Eman, Imanan, Imen, or Iman. Imani had its moment in the sun in 1998 when 1,272 little girls were christened with it but has since dipped in popularity. It is also the name of the Somali supermodel and entrepreneur Iman.

Jameelah

Jameelah, also spelled Jamelia, means “beautiful” or “graceful” in Arabic and hit its popularity in the United States in 1977. With more classic and elegant names making a comeback, Jamelia is an excellent choice for your graceful and beautiful little girl.

Kamaria

Kamaria is a glorious name that means “similar to the moon” or “bright as the moon.” It’s a traditional Swahili name that you can shorten to Kamie or Maria for a sweet nickname. Kamaria has almost a regal or otherworldly feeling to it that’s simply gorgeous.

Lulu, A Popular African Baby Girl Name

This darling Arabic name is very popular in Muslim countries and Tanzania, where it originated. Lulu means “pearls”, “comforting”, or “soothing”. Although it might seem a little bit too short for a first name, Lulu makes an ideal middle name or nickname for your beautiful new baby girl.

Malika

Malika means “queen” or princess” in Arabic and is sometimes spelled with an additional “a” for Malaika, meaning “angel” or “angels” in the Kiswahili language. So whether your little one is a queen, angel, or both, this lovely and musical name is an excellent choice for a blessed new baby.

Nia

Meaning purpose, Nia is a classic Eastern African and Swahili name that you can also spell “Nyah.” This short and sweet name was most popular in 2000 when there were just over 1,000 little girls crowned as Nias in the United States. Nia Peeples is one famous actress and musician with this namesake.

Omorose

Omorose means “beautiful child” in Egyptian. This musical name rolls right off the tongue and is a great name with tons of different variations. You can undoubtedly nickname your child “Rose” or “Rosie” or use Omorose in all of its glory. It’s a unique name with familiar undertones, making it an ideal pick.

Pemba

Try Pemba on for size if you want to give your little girl a uniquely poetic name. It means “the force of present existence” and strikes the right balance between regal, serious-sounding, and playful. Pemba is also a lovely island right off the coast of Tanzania.

Rashida

Rashida means “rightly guided” and is a popular name amongst Swahili, Afghan, and Arabic peoples. Although it’s a prominent name in much of Africa and the Middle East, there aren’t too many Rashidas in the United States. Give your child this name, and she will be in good company with the likes of Rashida Tlaib and Rashida Jones.

Shani, A Beautiful African Baby Name

Shani is a name that crosses over a few cultures and means different things, each of them good. Its traditional African meaning is “wonderful” or “marvelous,” and Shani means “Yahweh is gracious” in Hebrew. So if you want to bestow a powerful and gracious name on your new daughter, Shani is an excellent choice.

Taliba

Meaning “scholar” or “seeker of knowledge” in Arabic, Taliba is an uncommon but very strong name. If you want your child to grow up appreciating knowledge and expanding her creativity at every turn, Taliba is a perfect name for her.

Uchenna

Uchenna is a unisex name that works well for an unconventional first name or an inspired middle name. This name comes from the Ibo people and means “god’s thoughts.” It’s a gracious, pretty name to give your child.

Walidah

Walidah is an Arabic name that translates to “daughter,” “newborn,” or “young girl.” This name strikes the perfect balance between softness and strength. It’s a highly feminine name that also references the influential activist and poet Walidah Imarisha.

Xhosa

Xhosa comes predominantly from South Africa and means “sweet.” It’s beautiful, simple, and ideal for first or middle names.

Yamina

Yamina is an Arabic name that translates to “right,” “blessed,” or “proper.” It’s a highly popular name in the Muslim and Arabic worlds but is not as well-known in the United States. Yamina is a very versatile name that you can spell in a number of different ways, including Yahmina and Yameenah.

Zendaya, A South African Baby Girl Name

Zendaya is another South African name from the Shona language meaning “be thankful.” As with many of the names on our list, it’s a musical, lovely name that your child can customize as they get older. Although Zendaya is a relatively obscure name in the United States, it is gaining popularity primarily because of celebrities like Zendaya Coleman

Best African Baby Boy Names

Best African Baby Boy Names

Parents who want to bestow a powerful and unique name on their new baby boy might want to consider one of these top African baby boy names. Several names, like Barack and Kofi, are shared by top world leaders and will no doubt help your boy to grow up with a healthy sense of self-esteem and boundaries.

Others, like Chiamaka, are gorgeous names with inspired meanings that come from indigenous people of Africa. So, if you want to name your child something unique with deep roots, consider one of these names. It will certainly set them apart and help them forge a strong life in the future.

One of the best things about naming your child a traditionally African baby name is giving them a path to their heritage. Although many of these magnificent baby boy names aren’t very popular in the United States or other parts of the West, they thrive all over Africa. Celebrating your son with a traditional name will allow them to have a concrete connection to their roots and set them apart in the world.

Any of these fantastic twenty-six top African baby boy names work well as a first or middle name for your new special child. There are also several spelling variations and nicknames for each, so you can certainly make each name your own. So why not choose something great for your son? These top names can help you do just that.

Amani, A Common African Baby Boy Name

Amani is generally a baby boy’s name, although it can be unisex, especially as a middle name. The origins of Amani are contested. It might be Arabic for “wishes,” “aspirations,” or “desires.” It also could be from the Swahili people meaning “peace.” It’s also common in Zambia, where it means “peace” or “harmony.” 

Barack

Barack is the namesake of the first Black president of the United States, Barack Obama, so this name carries a hefty and impressive legacy. Spelled Barack, Barak, or Baraq, this Arabic name means “blessed,” “to bless,” or “kneel down.” It strikes just the right balance between humility and pride.

Chiamaka

Meaning “God is splendid,” in the Igbo language, Chiamaka is an uncommon but extremely lovely name usually adopted by African Christian people. In some dialects, Chiamaka also references a protective guardian spirit or angel, which is a beautiful thing to bestow on your child.

Dakarai

Dakarai means “happiness” and is a bright and beautiful name to give to your new baby boy. Dakarai is a mighty name that oozes confidence, self-respect, and honor. It’s also the name of Dakarai Dupreelorenz Allen, a professional basketball player.

Ekon, A Unique African Boys Name

Meaning “strong,” the name Ekon comes from Nigeria, where it is one of the most popular boys’ names. Ekon makes a great first or middle name. It’s powerful, assertive, and definitely unique. So if you want your son to grow up strong and wise, Ekon is a perfect name for him.

Fadil

Fadil is Arabic for “generous.” Some translations also call it “superior” or “honorable.” Fadil is a very weighty and regal-sounding name considered lucky in many Arab and African countries. This is a good choice if you are looking for a unique name for your child with deep traditional roots.

Gamba

Gamba is a fantastic name that’s most likely from Zimbabwe, although you can find it all over the continent. It means “warrior” or “water tortoise.” Although tortoises might not be the first animals that come to your mind when you think of intelligence or bravery, remember that African folklore has plenty of stories about tortoises using their wits and ingenuity.

Hasan

Hasan is a name that you will find all over Africa and the Arab world, although it probably originated with the Swahili people. This classic name means “handsome” and is very popular as both a first and middle name. It’s widely used by Persian, Swahili, Somali, Uyghur, Kazakh, Kurdish, Indonesian, Turkish, Urdu, Tatar, Albanian, Bengali, and Bosnian people.

Ibrahim

Ibrahim is another form of “Abraham,” and it carries a compelling meaning along with it. Abraham is known as the father of Israel and is one of the greatest patriarchs in the Bible. This spelling of the name is a uniquely African and Arabic one and is sure to bestow your baby boy with plenty of might and wisdom. 

Jabarl

Jabral comes from the Swahili people and means “valiant.” So if you want to name your child something powerful and unique, choose Jabarl. There’s a good chance that he will not encounter too many other Jabarls in his lifetime, but he will carry one of the most magnificent-meaning names with him from birth.

Kofi

Kofi comes from Western Africa and means “born on a Friday.” Although it might not be affiliated with a mightier meaning, like some of the other names on our list, it invokes some very famous people. Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, is one of them. So if you want your child to grow up on the shoulders of giants, give him the name Kofi. You can also spell it Kofie and Koffi.

Lateef

Lateef is a lovely name for a little boy, coming from the Egyptian word for “gentle.” It’s good for little boys to embrace their softer sides, so this name is an excellent reminder that we are both the sum of our strength and gentleness. It works very well as both a first name and a middle one.

Masud, & The Origin Of This Name

Although some cultures use Masud as a unisex name, it’s most often affiliated with boys. Masud is a very powerful name, drawing from Arabic, African, Hindu, Muslim, and Bengali traditions. It might have originated in East Africa or Egypt. It’s a firm name that translates to “prosperous,” “happy,” “fortunate,” or “lucky.”

You can spell Masud in many different ways, including Massoud, Masoud, Masood, Mashud, Masut, and Mesud. Although it’s not very popular in the United States, this name is very common in parts of the Arab world and the eastern side of Africa.

Ndulu

Ndulu is another gentle boy’s name that translates to “dove.” It most likely originated in Nigeria, although it’s a reasonably common name over much of Africa. Like Lateef, you can give your beautiful new baby boy this name to remind him that gentleness is often strength. It’s an uncommon and delightful name that will serve him well.

Osiris

Osiris is a very strong Egyptian name that references the Egyptian God of the dead but don’t be fooled by that classification. Osiris was a good God in Egyptian mythology, and he taught humans how to grow their own food and set up a civilization. In addition to being the namesake of one of Egypt’s most important deities, Osiris also means “strong eyesight.”

Paki

Paki is a unisex name that’s more commonly used for boys than girls. It can double as a girls’ name, and it also makes an excellent middle name for either sex. Paki is Xhosa for “witness” and is a very popular name in much of Africa.

Rafiki, A Popular African Baby Boy Name

We can thank the Swahili people for Rafiki, which means “friend.” This obscure name got a little boost in popularity thanks to The Lion King, where the elderly, wise mandrill who advised Mustafa and held Simba up to the sun was called Rafiki. It’s a clever name that rolls off the tongue and is an excellent option for your little one.

Saleem

Saleem is an Arabic name that means “safe,” “peaceful,” or “undamaged.” You can spell it in a number of different ways, including Salem or Selim. Saleem also has a few feminine components, including Salima, Saleemah, and Salma. This is an excellent name to give your new baby boy if you want to shield him from the ills of the world.

Tau

Tau is a magnificent, simple boy’s name that literally translates to “lion.” This name is excellent if you want to bestow a sense of power and purpose on your child and give them the bravery to stand up to the challenges of the world. Tau signifies strength, honor, and above all, conviction.

Uba

Uba is a rich and lovely name that primarily translates to “wealthy,” “lord,” or “father.” It’s one of those tremendous African names that carries a lot of weight and importance. If you name your child Uba, you can expect that they will command respect and always advocate for themselves.

Wambua

Wambua means “born during the rainy season” and is a popular name in many parts of the African continent. It’s a musical name that sounds beautiful when you say it, and it’s great for either a distinctive first name or a sweet middle name. Although Wambua is traditionally a boy’s name, you can use it as a unisex middle name if you wish.

Xhanti, A South African Name For Boys

Xhanti is a relatively uncommon African name from the Xhosa people. You can find it mainly in parts of South Africa, but it’s definitely not as popular as some other names. As such, you can rest assured that your child has a unique and mighty name to carry them through to adulthood.

Xhanti means “anchor”, “pillar of strength”, or “cornerstone”. It’s a solid name that has deep traditional roots.

Yazid

Yazid is an Arabic name meaning “increase” or “addition.” It can also translate to “becoming greater,” making it a perfect name for your new little one. Parents who give their children the name Yazid are projecting power and good luck on them from an early age. So if you want to set your little boy up for a healthy and fulfilling life, it’s an excellent name.

Zoko

Zoka is a Xhosa name meaning “glory.” Although it’s commonly spelled “Zoko,” you could also spell it “Zoka.” It’s a unique name that’s easy to say and shorten if you want, and it’s appropriate for both a first and middle name. Although some people use this name for girls, it’s predominately and traditionally a little boy’s name.

Best African Baby Names, Final Thoughts

Any of the listed names are great, traditional choices for your baby boy or girl. With a number of different variations and meanings associated with each, you can make the most educated choice for yourself and your family.

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