African Names

African names are used in various places on the continent of Africa. See also about African names.
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NAKATOfEastern African, Ganda
Means "second of twins" in Luganda.
NALIAKAfEastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the weeding season", from Luhya liliaka meaning "weeding".
NDIDIm & fWestern African, Igbo
Means "patience" in Igbo.
NEO (1)f & mSouthern African, Tswana
Means "gift" in Tswana, a derivative of naya "to give".
NGOZIf & mWestern African, Igbo
Means "blessing" in Igbo.
NIA (2)fEastern African, Swahili
Means "purpose" in Swahili.
NJERIfEastern African, Kikuyu
Means "travelling one" in Kikuyu. Njeri (or Wanjeri) is the name of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi in the Kikuyu origin legend.
NKECHINYEREfWestern African, Igbo
Means "what God has given" or "gift of God" in Igbo.
NKEMDILIMm & fWestern African, Igbo
Means "let mine be mine" in Igbo.
NKIRUKAfWestern African, Igbo
Means "the best is still to come" in Igbo.
NKOSANAmSouthern African, Xhosa
Means "prince" in Xhosa.
NKOSAZANAfSouthern African, Xhosa
Means "princess" in Xhosa.
NKRUMAm & fWestern African, Akan
Means "ninth born child" in Akan.
NNAMDImWestern African, Igbo
Means "my father is alive" in Igbo. This name is given to a child when it is believed that he is a reincarnation of his grandfather.
NNEKAfWestern African, Igbo
Means "my mother is supreme" in Igbo.
NNENNAfWestern African, Igbo
Means "father's mother" in Igbo. This name is sometimes given to a child when it is believed that she is a reincarnation of her paternal grandmother.
NNENNEfWestern African, Igbo
Means "mother's mother" in Igbo. This name is sometimes given to a child when it is believed that she is a reincarnation of her maternal grandmother.
NOMUSAfSouthern African, Ndebele
Means "merciful" in Ndebele.
NONHLEfSouthern African, Xhosa
From the Xhosa feminine prefix no- combined with hle "beautiful".
NOSIPHOfSouthern African, Zulu, Xhosa
From the Zulu and Xhosa feminine prefix no- combined with isipho "gift".
NOSIZWEfSouthern African, Xhosa
From the Xhosa feminine prefix no- combined with isizwe "nation".
NOXOLOfSouthern African, Xhosa, Ndebele
From the Xhosa and Ndebele feminine prefix no- combined with uxolo "peace".
NSIAm & fWestern African, Akan
Means "sixth born child" in Akan.
NSONOWAm & fWestern African, Akan
Means "seventh born child" in Akan.
NTHANDAm & fSouthern African, Tumbuka
Means "star" in Tumbuka.
NTOMBIfSouthern African, Zulu
Means "girl" in Zulu.
NTOMBIFUTHIfSouthern African, Zulu
Means "a girl again" in Zulu.
NTOMBIZODWAfSouthern African, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
Means "only girls", from Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele intombi "girl" and zodwa "only".
NURUfEastern African, Swahili
Means "light" in Swahili, ultimately from Arabic نور (nur).
NWANNEKAfWestern African, Igbo
Means "my siblings are supreme" in Igbo.
NYAMBURAfEastern African, Kikuyu
From Kikuyu mbura meaning "rain". This is the name of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi in the Kikuyu origin legend.
NYARAIfSouthern African, Shona
Means "be humble" in Shona.
NYONGESAmEastern African, Luhya
Means "born on Saturday" in Luhya.
OBImWestern African, Igbo
Means "heart" in Igbo.
OCHIENGmEastern African, Luo
Means "born when the sun shines", derived from Luo chieng meaning "sun".
ODHIAMBOmEastern African, Luo
Means "born in the evening" in Luo.
OGECHUKWUKAMAfWestern African, Igbo
Means "God's time is the best" in Igbo.
OGHENEKAROm & fWestern African, Urhobo
Means "God first" in Urhobo.
OGHENEKEVWEm & fWestern African, Urhobo
Means "God provided for me" in Urhobo.
OGHENEROm & fWestern African, Urhobo
Means "God exists" in Urhobo.
OKAFORmWestern African, Igbo
Means "born on Afor" in Igbo, Afor being one of the days of the Igbo week.
OKEKEmWestern African, Igbo
Means "born on Eke" in Igbo, Eke being one of the days of the Igbo week.
OKONKWOmWestern African, Igbo
Means "born on Nkwo" in Igbo, Nkwo being one of the days of the Igbo week.
OKORIEmWestern African, Igbo
Means "born on Orie" in Igbo, Orie being one of the days of the Igbo week.
OKOROmWestern African, Urhobo
Means "man" in Urhobo.
OLABODEmWestern African, Yoruba
Means "wealth returns" in Yoruba.
OLAMIDEm & fWestern African, Yoruba
Means "my wealth has arrived" in Yoruba.
OLAMILEKANmWestern African, Yoruba
Means "my wealth is increased" in Yoruba.
OLANREWAJUmWestern African, Yoruba
Means "my wealth is the future" or "my wealth is moving forward" in Yoruba.
OLAYINKAfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "wealth surrounds me" in Yoruba.
OLUBUNMIfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "gift of God" in Yoruba.
OLUCHIm & fWestern African, Igbo
Means "God's work" in Igbo.
OLUFEMImWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God loves me" in Yoruba.
OLUFUNKEm & fWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God has cared for" in Yoruba.
OLUFUNMILAYOf & mWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God gave me joy" in Yoruba.
OLUFUNMILOLAf & mWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God gives me wealth" in Yoruba.
OLUJIMImWestern African, Yoruba
Means "given by God" in Yoruba.
OLUKAYODEmWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God brings happiness" in Yoruba.
OLUMIDEmWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God has come" in Yoruba.
OLUWAKANYINSOLAm & fWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God has added sweetness to my wealth" in Yoruba.
OLUWASEGUNm & fWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God has been victorious" in Yoruba.
OLUWASEUNm & fWestern African, Yoruba
Means "we thank God" in Yoruba.
OLUWASEYIf & mWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God made this" in Yoruba.
OLUWATOYINm & fWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God is worthy to be praised" in Yoruba.
OLUWAYEMISIf & mWestern African, Yoruba
Means "God honours me" in Yoruba.
OMOBOLANLEf & mWestern African, Yoruba
Means "a child who met wealth at home" in Yoruba.
OMOLARAfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "a child is family" in Yoruba.
OMONDImEastern African, Luo
Means "born early in the morning" in Luo.
ONIfWestern African, Yoruba
Possibly means "born in sacred abode" in Yoruba.
ONYEKACHIf & mWestern African, Igbo
Means "who is greater than God?" in Igbo.
ONYEKACHUKWUm & fWestern African, Igbo
Variant of ONYEKACHI, using Chukwu as the last element, which is the extended form of Chi meaning "God".
OPEYEMIm & fWestern African, Yoruba
Means "I should give praise" in Yoruba.
OTIENOmEastern African, Luo
Means "born at night" in Luo.
OTOBONGm & fWestern African, Ibibio
Means "from God" in Ibibio.
OYIBOm & fWestern African, Urhobo
Means "white" in Urhobo.
PALESAfSouthern African, Sotho
Means "flower" in Sotho.
PEMPHEROm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "prayer" in Chewa.
PENJANIm & fSouthern African, Tumbuka
Means "seek for, look for" in Tumbuka.
PILIRANIm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "persevere, endure" in Chewa.
PULENGfSouthern African, Sotho
Means "in the rain" in Sotho.
REFILWEm & fSouthern African, Tswana
Means "we were given" in Tswana.
RUDOm & fSouthern African, Shona
Means "love" in Shona.
RUFAROfSouthern African, Shona
Means "happiness" in Shona.
RUMBIDZAIfSouthern African, Shona
Means "praise" in Shona.
RUTENDOf & mSouthern African, Shona
Means "faith" in Shona.
SANAA (2)fEastern African, Swahili
Means "artwork" in Swahili.
SANDILEmSouthern African, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
Means "we increased" in Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele.
SAUDAfEastern African, Swahili
Means "dark complexion" in Swahili.
SEBLEfEastern African, Amharic
Means "harvest" in Amharic.
SEFUmEastern African, Swahili
Means "sword" in Swahili, ultimately from Arabic سيف (sayf).
SEKAIfSouthern African, Shona
Means "be humourous" in Shona.
SEKANImSouthern African, Tumbuka
Means "laugh" in Tumbuka.
SETHUNYAfSouthern African, Tswana
Means "bloom, flower" in Tswana.
SEYDOUmWestern African, Manding, Fula, Wolof, Serer
Form of SA'ID used in parts of western Africa.
SIBONAKALISOm & fSouthern African, Zulu
From Zulu isibonakaliso meaning "sign, token, proof".
SIBONGILEfSouthern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "we are thankful" in Zulu and Ndebele.
SIBUSISIWEfSouthern African, Ndebele
Means "we are blessed" in Ndebele.
SIBUSISOmSouthern African, Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele
Means "blessed" in Zulu, Swazi and Ndebele.
SIFISOmSouthern African, Zulu
Means "wish" in Zulu.
SIMBA (1)mSouthern African, Shona
Means "strength" in Shona.
SIMBA (2)mEastern African, Swahili
Means "lion" in Swahili. This is the name of the main character in the Disney movie 'The Lion King' (1994), about a lion cub who exiles himself after his father is murdered.
SIMISOLAfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "rest in wealth" in Yoruba.
SIMIYUmEastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the dry season" in Luhya.
SIPHOmSouthern African, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
Means "gift" from Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele isipho.
SISAYmEastern African, Amharic
Means "good omen" in Amharic.
SITHEMBILEf & mSouthern African, Zulu
Means "we trust" in Zulu.
SIYABONGAmSouthern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "we thank you" in Zulu and Ndebele.
SIZWEmSouthern African, Xhosa
Means "nation" in Xhosa.
SSANYUfEastern African, Ganda
Means "joy" in Luganda.
SUBIRAfEastern African, Swahili
Means "patience" in Swahili.
TADALAm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "we have been blessed" in Chewa.
TADESSEmEastern African, Amharic
Means "revived" in Amharic.
TAFADZWAm & fSouthern African, Shona
Means "we are pleased" in Shona.
TAFARImEastern African, Amharic (Rare)
Possibly means "he who inspires awe" in Amharic. This name was borne by Lij Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975), also known as Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians (Ras Tafari meaning "king Tafari") revere him as the earthly incarnation of God.
TAJEDDIGTfNorthern African, Berber
Means "flower" in Tamazight.
TAKONDWAm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "we are glad" in Chewa.
TAMANDANIm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "we have exalted" in Chewa.
TAMRATmEastern African, Amharic
Means "miracle" in Amharic.
TAONGAf & mSouthern African, Tumbuka
Means "we are thankful" in Tumbuka.
TAPIWAfSouthern African, Shona
Means "given" in Shona.
TARIKUmEastern African, Amharic
Means "his history, his story" in Amharic.
TARIROfSouthern African, Shona
Means "hope" in Shona.
TATENDAm & fSouthern African, Shona
Means "thank you" in Shona.
TAUmSouthern African, Tswana, Sotho
Means "lion" in Tswana and Sotho. Tau was the name of the last ruler of the Rolong in South Africa (18th century).
TEBOHOmSouthern African, Sotho
Means "gratitude" in Sotho.
TEMITOPEf & mWestern African, Yoruba
Means "enough to give thanks" in Yoruba.
TENDAIm & fSouthern African, Shona
Means "be thankful" in Shona.
TENDAJImEastern African, Swahili
Means "makes things happen" in Swahili.
TESFAYEmEastern African, Amharic
From Amharic ተስፋ (tasfa) meaning "hope".
THABANImSouthern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "be happy" in Zulu and Ndebele.
THABOmSouthern African, Tswana
Means "joy" in Tswana.
THANDEKAfSouthern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "loved" in Zulu and Ndebele.
THANDIWEfSouthern African, Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "loving one" in Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele, from thanda "to love".
THANDOm & fSouthern African, Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele
From Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele thanda meaning "to love".
THEMAfWestern African, Akan
Means "queen" in Akan.
THEMBAmSouthern African, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
Means "trust, hope" in Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele.
THOKOZANIm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "thank" in Chewa.
THULANImSouthern African, Zulu
Means "be quiet, be peaceful" in Zulu.
THULILEfSouthern African, Zulu
Means "quiet, peaceful" in Zulu.
TICHAONAmSouthern African, Shona
Means "we will see" in Shona.
TIDIRfNorthern African, Berber
Feminine form of IDIR.
TIFAWTfNorthern African, Berber
Means "light" in Tamazight.
TINASHEm & fSouthern African, Shona
Means "we are with God", from Shona ti "we", na "with", and ishe "lord, God".
TIONGEf & mSouthern African, Tumbuka
Means "let us be thankful" in Tumbuka.
TITILAYOfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "eternal happiness" in Yoruba.
TIYAMIKEm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "we praise" in Chewa.
TSHOLOFELOfSouthern African, Tswana
Means "hope, expectation" in Tswana.
TUMELOm & fSouthern African, Sotho, Tswana
Means "faith" in Sotho and Tswana.
UDO (2)f & mWestern African, Igbo
Means "peace" in Igbo.
UDUAKm & fWestern African, Ibibio
Means "will, desire" in Ibibio.
UDUAKOBONGm & fWestern African, Ibibio
Means "God's will" in Ibibio.
UFUOMAm & fWestern African, Urhobo
Means "peace of mind" in Urhobo.
UMUKOROmWestern African, Urhobo
Means "young man" in Urhobo.
UNATHIm & fSouthern African, Xhosa
Means "he or she is with us" in Xhosa, from the prefix u- meaning "he, she" and nathi meaning "with us".
UZOCHImWestern African, Igbo
Means "God's way" in Igbo.
UZOMAm & fWestern African, Igbo
Means "good way" in Igbo.
WAFULAmEastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the rainy season", from Luhya ifula meaning "rainy season".
WAIRIMUfEastern African, Kikuyu
From Kikuyu irimu meaning "ogre, giant". In the Kikuyu origin legend Wairimu is of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi.
WAMALWAmEastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the brewing season" in Luhya.
WAMBUIfEastern African, Kikuyu
Means "zebra" in Kikuyu. This is one of Mumbi's nine daughters in the Kikuyu origin legend.
WANANGWAm & fSouthern African, Tumbuka
Means "freedom" in Tumbuka.
WANGARIfEastern African, Kikuyu
From Kikuyu ngarĩ meaning "leopard". In the Kikuyu origin legend this is the name of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi.
WANGUIfEastern African, Kikuyu
From Kikuyu ngũi meaning "song leader". This is one of Mumbi's nine daughters in the Kikuyu origin legend.
WANJALAmEastern African, Luhya
Means "born during famine", from Luhya injala meaning "hunger, famine".
WANJIKUfEastern African, Kikuyu
Meaning unknown. This is one of Mumbi's nine daughters in the Kikuyu origin legend.
WANJIRUfEastern African, Kikuyu
Possibly from Kikuyu njĩra meaning "way, path". In the Kikuyu origin legend this is the name of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi.
WANYONYImEastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the weeding season", from Luhya enyonyi meaning "weeds".
WASSWAmEastern African, Ganda
Means "first of twins" in Luganda.
WEKESAmEastern African, Luhya
Means "born during harvest" in Luhya.
WERKNESHfEastern African, Amharic
Variant transcription of WORKNESH.
WORKNEHmEastern African, Amharic
Means "you are gold", from Amharic ወርቅ (warq) meaning "gold".
XOLANImSouthern African, Zulu
Means "peace" in Zulu.
YAAfWestern African, Akan
Means "born on Thursday" in Akan.
YAMIKANIm & fSouthern African, Chewa
Means "be grateful, praise" in Chewa.
YAOmWestern African, Ewe
Means "born on Thursday" in Ewe.
YAREDmBiblical Hebrew, Eastern African, Ethiopian
Hebrew form of JARED. This form is also used in Ethiopia. It was borne by a semi-legendary 6th-century Ethiopian musician who is considered a saint in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
YAWmWestern African, Akan
Means "born on Thursday" in Akan.
YEJIDEfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "image of the mother" in Yoruba.
YETUNDEfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "mother has returned" in Yoruba.
YEWANDEfWestern African, Yoruba
Means "mother has returned" in Yoruba.
YEWUBDARfEastern African, Amharic
Means "beautiful beyond limits" from Amharic ውብ (wb) meaning "beautiful" and ዳር (dar) meaning "limit, horizon, frontier, shore".
ZEPHANIAmSouthern African
Variant of ZEPHANIAH. This form of the name appears to be used in southern Africa.
ZIKOMOmSouthern African, Chewa
Means "thank you" in Chewa.
ZOLA (2)fSouthern African, Zulu
Means "quiet, tranquil" in Zulu.
ZUBERImEastern African, Swahili
Means "strong" in Swahili.
ZURIfEastern African, Swahili
Means "beautiful" in Swahili.