African Names

African names are used in various places on the continent of Africa. See also about African names.
gender
usage
Seynabou f Western African
Form of Zaynab used in parts of western Africa (mostly Senegal).
Shehu m Western African, Hausa
From Arabic شيخ (shaykh) meaning "elder, chief, sheikh", a title of Usman dan Fodio (1754-1817), the founder of the Sokoto Caliphate.
Sibonakaliso m & f Southern African, Zulu
From Zulu isibonakaliso meaning "sign, token, proof".
Sibongile f Southern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "we are thankful" in Zulu and Ndebele.
Sibusisiwe f Southern African, Ndebele
Means "we are blessed" in Ndebele.
Sibusiso m Southern African, Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele
Means "blessed" in Zulu, Swazi and Ndebele.
Sifiso m Southern African, Zulu
Means "wish" in Zulu.
Simba 1 m Southern African, Shona
Means "power, strength" in Shona.
Simba 2 m Eastern 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.
Simisola f Western African, Yoruba
Means "rest in wealth" in Yoruba.
Simiyu m Eastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the dry season" in Luhya.
Sipho m Southern African, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
Means "gift" from Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele isipho.
Sisay m Eastern African, Amharic
Means "good omen" in Amharic.
Sithembile f & m Southern African, Zulu
Means "we trust" in Zulu.
Siyabonga m Southern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "we thank you" in Zulu and Ndebele.
Sizwe m Southern African, Xhosa
Means "nation" in Xhosa.
Souleymane m Western African
Form of Sulayman used in parts of French-influenced western Africa.
Ssanyu f Eastern African, Ganda
Means "joy" in Luganda.
Subira f Eastern African, Swahili
Means "patience" in Swahili.
Tadala f Southern African, Chewa
Means "we have been blessed" in Chewa.
Tadesse m Eastern African, Amharic
Means "revived" in Amharic.
Tafadzwa m & f Southern African, Shona
Means "we are pleased" in Shona, from fadza meaning "please, make happy".
Tafari m Eastern African (Rare), 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.
Taiwo m & f Western African, Yoruba
Means "taste the world, taste life" in Yoruba.
Tajeddigt f Northern African, Berber
Means "flower" in Tamazight.
Takondwa m & f Southern African, Chewa
Means "we are glad" in Chewa.
Talatu f Western African, Hausa
From Hausa Talata meaning "Tuesday" (of Arabic origin).
Tamandani m & f Southern African, Chewa
Means "exalt, praise" in Chewa.
Tambudzai f Southern African, Shona
From Shona tambudza meaning "make trouble, frustrate".
Tamrat m Eastern African, Amharic
Means "miracle" in Amharic.
Taonga f & m Southern African, Tumbuka
Means "we are thankful" in Tumbuka.
Tapiwa f Southern African, Shona
Means "given" in Shona.
Tariku m Eastern African, Amharic
Means "his history, his story" in Amharic.
Tariro f Southern African, Shona
Means "hope" in Shona.
Tatenda m & f Southern African, Shona
Means "thank you" in Shona, from tenda meaning "thank".
Tatu 2 f Eastern African, Swahili
Means "third (child)" in Swahili.
Tau m Southern 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).
Taurai m & f Southern African, Shona
From Shona taura meaning "speak".
Tebogo f & m Southern African, Tswana
Means "gratitude, thanks" in Tswana.
Teboho m Southern African, Sotho
Means "gratitude" in Sotho.
Temitope f & m Western African, Yoruba
Means "mine is worthy of gratitude" in Yoruba.
Tendai m & f Southern African, Shona
From Shona tenda meaning "be thankful, thank".
Tesfaye m Eastern African, Amharic
From Amharic ተስፋ (tasfa) meaning "hope".
Thabang m & f Southern African, Tswana
Means "be happy" in Tswana.
Thabani m Southern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "be happy" in Zulu and Ndebele.
Thabo m Southern African, Sotho, Tswana
Means "joy, happiness" in Sotho and Tswana.
Thandeka f Southern African, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "loved" in Zulu and Ndebele.
Thandiwe f Southern African, Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele
Means "loving one" in Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele, from thanda "to love".
Thando m & f Southern African, Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele
From Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele thanda meaning "to love".
Thato m & f Southern African, Sotho, Tswana
Means "will, desire" in Sotho and Tswana.
Thema f Western African, Akan
Means "queen" in Akan.
Themba m Southern African, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
Means "trust, hope" in Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele.
Thoko m & f Southern African, Chewa
Short form of Thokozani.
Thokozani m & f Southern African, Chewa
Means "thank" in Chewa.
Thulani m Southern African, Zulu
Means "be quiet, be peaceful" in Zulu.
Thulile f Southern African, Zulu
Means "quiet, peaceful" in Zulu.
Tichaona m Southern African, Shona
Means "we will see" from Shona ticha "we will" and ona "see".
Tidir f Northern African, Berber
Feminine form of Idir.
Tifawt f Northern African, Berber
Means "light" in Tamazight.
Tinashe m & f Southern African, Shona
Means "we are with God", from Shona ti "we", na "with" and ishe "lord, God".
Tionge f & m Southern African, Chewa, Tumbuka
Means "we thank" in Chewa and Tumbuka.
Titilayo f Western African, Yoruba
Means "eternal happiness" in Yoruba.
Titrit f Northern African, Berber
Feminine form of Itri.
Tiyamike f & m Southern African, Chewa
Means "we praise" in Chewa.
Tochukwu m & f Western African, Igbo
Means "praise God" in Igbo.
Toyin f & m Western African, Yoruba
Means "worthy of praise" in Yoruba, also a short form of Oluwatoyin.
Tshepo m & f Southern African, Sotho, Tswana
Means "hope" in Sotho and Tswana.
Tsholofelo f Southern African, Tswana
Means "hope, expectation" in Tswana.
Tumaini f & m Eastern African, Swahili
Means "wish, hope" in Swahili.
Tumelo m & f Southern African, Sotho, Tswana
Means "faith" in Sotho and Tswana.
Tunde m Western African, Yoruba
Means "return, come again" in Yoruba, also a short form of names containing that element.
Uche m & f Western African, Igbo
Means "wisdom, sense, mind" in Igbo.
Uchenna m & f Western African, Igbo
Means "wisdom of the father, sense of the father" in Igbo.
Udo 2 m & f Western African, Igbo
Means "peace" in Igbo.
Uduak m & f Western African, Ibibio
Means "will, desire" in Ibibio.
Uduakobong m & f Western African, Ibibio
Means "God's will" in Ibibio.
Ufuoma m & f Western African, Urhobo
Means "peace of mind" in Urhobo.
Ugochi f Western African, Igbo
Means "eagle of God" in Igbo, from ùgó meaning "eagle, honour" and Chi 2, referring to God.
Ugochukwu m Western African, Igbo
Means "eagle of God" in Igbo.
Uhuru m Eastern African, Swahili
Means "freedom" in Swahili.
Uju f Western African, Igbo
Means "fullness, plenty" in Igbo.
Umar m Arabic, Urdu, Indonesian, Western African, Hausa
Means "populous, flourishing", derived from Arabic عمر ('umr) meaning "life". Umar was a companion and strong supporter of the Prophet Muhammad who became the second caliph of the Muslims. He is considered to be one of the great founders of the Muslim state. The name was also borne by a 12th-century poet from Persia, Umar Khayyam.
Umaru m Western African, Hausa
Hausa variant of Umar.
Umukoro m Western African, Urhobo
Means "young man" in Urhobo.
Unathi m & f Southern African, Xhosa
Means "he or she is with us" in Xhosa, from the prefix u- meaning "he, she" and nathi meaning "with us".
Upendo f Eastern African, Swahili
Means "love, affection" in Swahili.
Usman m Urdu, Indonesian, Western African, Hausa
Urdu, Indonesian and Hausa form of Uthman.
Uzochi m & f Western African, Igbo
Means "way of God" in Igbo.
Uzoma m & f Western African, Igbo
Means "good way" in Igbo.
Wafula m Eastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the rainy season", from Luhya ifula meaning "rainy season".
Wairimu f Eastern African, Kikuyu
From Kikuyu irimũ meaning "ogre, giant". In the Kikuyu origin legend Wairimu is of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi.
Wamalwa m Eastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the brewing season" in Luhya.
Wambui f Eastern African, Kikuyu
Means "zebra" in Kikuyu. This is one of Mumbi's nine daughters in the Kikuyu origin legend.
Wanangwa m & f Southern African, Tumbuka
Means "freedom" in Tumbuka.
Wangari f Eastern African, Kikuyu
From Kikuyu ngarĩ meaning "leopard". In the Kikuyu origin legend this is the name of one of the nine daughters of Mumbi.
Wangui f Eastern African, Kikuyu
From Kikuyu ngũi meaning "song leader". This is one of Mumbi's nine daughters in the Kikuyu origin legend.
Wanjala m Eastern African, Luhya
Means "born during famine", from Luhya injala meaning "hunger, famine".
Wanjiku f Eastern African, Kikuyu
Meaning unknown. This is one of Mumbi's nine daughters in the Kikuyu origin legend.
Wanjiru f Eastern 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.
Wanyonyi m Eastern African, Luhya
Means "born during the weeding season", from Luhya enyonyi meaning "weeds".
Wasswa m Eastern African, Ganda
Means "first of twins" in Luganda.
Wekesa m Eastern African, Luhya
Means "born during harvest" in Luhya.
Werknesh f Eastern African, Amharic
Alternate transcription of Amharic ወርቅነሽ (see Worknesh).
Wongani m & f Southern African, Chewa
Means "thank" in Chewa.
Workneh m Eastern African, Amharic
Means "you are gold", from Amharic ወርቅ (warq) meaning "gold".
Xaawo f Eastern African, Somali
Somali form of Eve.
Xasan m Eastern African, Somali
Somali form of Hasan.
Xolani m Southern African, Zulu
Means "peace" in Zulu.
Yaa f Western African, Akan
Means "born on Thursday" in Akan.
Yacouba m Western African
Form of Yaqub used in parts of French-influenced western Africa.
Yalwa f & m Western African, Hausa
Means "abundance" in Hausa.
Yamikani m & f Southern African, Chewa
Means "be grateful, praise" in Chewa.
Yao m Western African, Ewe
Ewe form of Yaw.
Yared m Biblical 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.
Yaw m Western African, Akan
Means "born on Thursday" in Akan.
Yejide f Western African, Yoruba
Means "mother has awakened" in Yoruba.
Yetunde f Western African, Yoruba
Means "mother has come again" in Yoruba.
Yewande f Western African, Yoruba
Means "mother has found me" in Yoruba.
Yewubdar f Eastern African, Amharic
Means "beautiful beyond limits" from Amharic ውብ (wb) meaning "beautiful" and ዳር (dar) meaning "limit, horizon, frontier, shore".
Yuusuf m Eastern African, Somali
Somali form of Yosef (see Joseph).
Zawadi f & m Eastern African, Swahili
Means "gift" in Swahili.
Zephania m Southern African, Eastern African
Variant of Zephaniah. This form of the name appears to be used in southern and eastern Africa.
Zikomo m & f Southern African, Chewa
Means "thank you, greeting" in Chewa.
Zola 2 f & m Southern African, Xhosa
From the Xhosa root -zola meaning "calm".
Zuhura f Eastern African, Swahili, Dhivehi
Means "Venus (the planet)" in Swahili and Dhivehi (both from Arabic زهرة).
Zuri f Eastern African, Swahili
Means "beautiful" in Swahili.