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Swahili Names for Boys

Swahili names for boys are most familiar in the US via the Presidential name Barack, the sports-related Kobe, and Simba of The Lion King. But there are other Swahili boy names that may be appealing to the parent in search of an African name for their son. Swahili is the most well-known African language and culture in the US and other English-speaking countries, so the names here may feel more accessible than other African names for boys.

Here, our full list of Swahili names for boys. The top names below rank among the current US Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below the Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.

KobeHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "tortoise"
  • Description:

    Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, whose name was inspired by a Japanese steak house, brought this energetic and appealing name into -- and out of -- the mix. Bryant's tragic death in a helicopter crash in 2020 may only increase the popularity of his name, as fans and admirers name their children Kobe in honor of the star.

SimbaHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili or Shona
  • Meaning:

    "lion; strength"
  • Description:

    Traditional African name made cartoonish by the Disney character in The Lion King. In Shona it means "strength".

KitoHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "precious jewel"
  • Description:

    An energetic African name with a stylish o ending.

BarackHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew; also Swahili from Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "thunderbolt, lightning; or blessing"
  • Description:

    The name of the 44th president, which he inherited from his Kenyan father, is related to the Swahili word "baraka," meaning "blessing," derived from the Arabic "baracka." It is linked, through the Semitic root, to the Hebrew name Baruch. Barack is also sometimes an alternate spelling of the Hebrew name Barak, which stems from the Semitic word for "lightning." Barack Obama may have found it a difficult name to grow up with, but the same won't be true for the many babies starting to be given that name. Other parents are being inspired to use Obama, which is a common surname among the Luo people of East Africa meaning "to lean or bend."

JabariHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "comforter, bringer of consolation"
  • Description:

    Coolly attractive African name, with distinguished representatives in sports and literature. Jabari has been on the rise recently, returning to the US Top 1000 in 2015.

OmariHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili, Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "populous, flourishing"
  • Description:

    This name, like Omar and Amari, has been in the US Top 1000 for many years. After taking a downturn in 2008, it's now again on the upswing. Actor Omari Hardwick keeps it in the public eye.

AziziHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "precious treasure"
  • Description:

    Two z's equal double pizzazz.

SultanHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "ruler"
  • Description:

    Passé pasha image.

HajiHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "born during the pilgrimage to Mecca"
  • Description:

    A name appropriate for boys born during the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca every Muslim is expected to make once in his lifetime.

AbdallaHeart

  • Origin:

    African
  • Meaning:

    "servant of God"
  • Description:

    This Muslim name derived from the Arabic is found in North and East Africa.

AbduHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "worshipper of God"
  • Description:

    The vowel ending energizes this relative of Abdul.

SadikHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "friend"
  • Description:

    Frequently found in all three forms: Sadik, Sadiki, and Sadiq.

NuruHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "born in daylight"
  • Description:

    Evocative African choice.

SadakaHeart

  • Origin:

    Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "religious offering"
  • Description:

    This traditional Swahili folktale name could mark you as a Neil Sedaka fan.