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African Names for Girls

African names for girls are derived from a wide range of cultures, languages and countries, from Arabic to Xhosa, Swahili to Yoruba.
Some African names have migrated to other continents and become well-used in English-speaking nations such as the US and Great Britain, including Amara, Anika, Zuri, and place-name Kenya.Many African names for girls originated as names for days of the week, times of the year such as harvest time, positions in the family such as eldest daughter, or elements of nature such as lion or grass.In modern Africa, names sometimes have a religious element, with much of Northern Africa using Muslim names while parents in other African countries favoring Christian names.In the US, many parents began searching for African names with personal meaning following the popularity of the book and TV miniseries Roots, in which the main character reclaims his African names.

If you're searching for African names for a baby girl, here is our full list.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.
See Unique African Names for Girls

Top African Names for Girls

  • Amara

    Amara is the Italian word for bitter, from the same root as Mary and Miriam. It has separate roots in West Africa as a name that means “grace” in the Igbo language. These two meanings are the... Read More 

  • Zuri

    Zuri migrated, at least to American sensibilities, to the feminine side when an Ohio zoo used it for a female giraffe. For either gender, Zuri is an attractive name with the usual Z-initial zest.... Read More 

  • Makenna

    Part of the Mackenzie/Mackena/Mackenna family, this variation has a positive meaning.Read More 

  • Nala

    A Disney name—Nala was the friend who became the wife of Simba, hero of The Lion King. It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2015.

    Keenen Ivory Wayans used it for his daughter.Read More 

  • Anika

    Anike is an attractive name with ties to several cultures, both African and Scandinavian. The African pronunciation emphasizes the second syllable while the Nordic one emphasizes the first. While... Read More 

  • Zora

    Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

    Spelled Zorah, it is a biblical place name, and... Read More 

  • Zola

    When the Eddie Murphys named their fourth daughter Zola, it affirmed the up-and-coming status of the name, which has African roots, but also literary links to Emile Zola. Read More 

  • Zendaya

    Disney Channel star and recording artist Zendaya's unusual name comes from the word for thanks, Tendai, in the Shona language, spoken in Zimbabwe and southern Zambia. Its popularity is directly... Read More 

See Unique African Names for Girls