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African Names for Girls

  1. NeelaHeart
    • Origin:

      Hindi, Sanskrit
    • Meaning:

      "sapphire blue"
    • Description:

      A variation of Nila, a name spread through African by the substantial Indian population there. Also a variant of Neala and Neila.
  2. AkosuaHeart
    • Origin:

      Twi
    • Meaning:

      "Born on a Sunday"
    • Description:

      Akosua means "born on a Sunday," which relates the name to the sun and thus to fire. The Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast frequently name their children after the day of the week they were born and the order in which they were born. Most Ghanans have a name using this system (think Kofi Annan, whose name means born on a Friday). Akosua is the name for girls born on a Sunday. The name for boys born on a Sunday is Kwasi.
  3. ZolaHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Congolese; also literary name
    • Meaning:

      "piece of earth"
    • Description:

      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. Zola may also be recognizable to some as the adopted daughter of Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd on the hit, long-running show Grey's Anatomy.
  4. NyalaHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Ethiopian
    • Meaning:

      "mountain goat"
    • Description:

      Nyala is a secret nature name with a fashionable animal meaning. Nyala might be an appropriate name for a baby girl born under the sign of Capricorn, which is symbolized by the goat, or in the Chinese Year of the Goat -- though the last one was 2015 and we won't have another until 2027. Although the nee beginning is most frequently cited as the correct pronunciation, the name can -- and often will -- be pronounced with the first syllable rhyming with my and sigh.
  5. ShantiHeart
    • Origin:

      Hindi
    • Meaning:

      "peace"
    • Description:

      This Hindi word which is used in prayer is one of the prime names that mean peace, always a nice message to impart to a child. Nick Nolte used it for his daughter.
  6. MakenaHeart
    • Origin:

      Spelling variation of McKenna or Kikuyu
    • Meaning:

      "happy one"
    • Description:

      A name from the East African Kikuyu language with a sweet meaning; and a simplified spelling of McKenna.
  7. BayoHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Nigerian, Yoruba
    • Meaning:

      "the crown meets joy"
    • Description:

      Short form of Adebayo
  8. AmmaHeart
    • Origin:

      Tamil, Akan
    • Meaning:

      "mother, or born on a Saturday"
    • Description:

      An anagram of Mama, in tune with its Tamil meaning.
  9. IfeHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Yoruba
    • Meaning:

      "love"
    • Description:

      Simple African name all-but-unknown in the U.S. and Europe, which is exactly why it might make a perfect choice. Similarity to such popular names as Ava and Eva (and the Irish Aoife) makes it more familiar, but potentially more confusing.
  10. SamiyaHeart
    • Origin:

      Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "high, exalted, praised"
    • Description:

      Samiya is a name used by parents of both Arabic and African ancestry. Spelling variations include Samiyah, Samiah, and Samia.
  11. ZalaHeart
    • Origin:

      Ethiopian or Slovene variation of Rozalija
    • Meaning:

      "a people from southwest Ethiopia; rose"
    • Description:

      Simple but sultry.
  12. DiarraHeart
    • Origin:

      West African
    • Meaning:

      "gift"
    • Description:

      Diarra has a nice meaning, but we could see it leading to possible teasing re association with a certain digestive problem.
  13. MarjaniHeart
    • Origin:

      Arabic, Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "coral"
    • Description:

      A name with the kind of pan-cultural feel that's in vogue now... and forever. A French variant, Marjane, belongs to the author of the iconic graphic memoir Persepolis.
  14. KenyaHeart
    • Origin:

      Place name, Kikuyu
    • Meaning:

      "mountain of white"
    • Description:

      Kenya, a name borrowed from the East African nation and theoretically unisex, is now used mostly for girls. While it's had its ups and downs since entering the US Top 1000 in 1968, it currently ranks lower than spelling variant Kenia.
  15. ImenaHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "dream; faith"
    • Description:

      A worthy update for Imani.
  16. ZiziHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Kiswahili
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Despite its varied cultural ties, Zizi still sounds like a cancan dancer or a fluffy lapdog.
  17. EsheHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "life"
    • Description:

      A variant of Asha, which is related to the classic Arabic name Aisha, yet another way to say life. Other on-the-rise names with this uplifting meaning: Zoe and Vivian varieties such as Viviana, Viveca, and Vivienne.
  18. FalalaHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Fula
    • Meaning:

      "born in abundance"
    • Description:

      A wonderful meaning for a bright and musical West African name.
  19. KessieHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Ashanti
    • Meaning:

      "chubby baby"
    • Description:

      Kessie is cute but slight.
  20. KamaliHeart
    • Origin:

      African, Mashona
    • Meaning:

      "spirit guide, protector"
    • Description:

      Spirit that protects babies from illness...and surname of designer Naomi.