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Top African Names for Boys

African names for boys include some of the very biggest names on the global stage in recent years: Barack, Mandela, Kofi, and — for rather different reasons — Kanye. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has a particularly interesting name in terms of traditional African naming conventions: Kofi means "born on a Friday", while his middle name, Atta, means "twin". It remains common practice in parts of Africa to name babies according to time, day, order, or circumstances of birth. Other appealing African boy names with such meanings include the Yoruba name Kehinde ("second of twins") and the Akan name Kwame ("born on a Saturday").

See our full selection of African baby boy names, and the stories behind them, below. 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.

ZaireHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name
  • Meaning:

    "the river that swallows all rivers"
  • Description:

    An African place name—Zaire was a Central African state from 1971 to 1997—it comes from a Kongo term meaning "the river that swallows all rivers." A bold and wearable choice for a son.

AyanHeart

  • Origin:

    Somali
  • Meaning:

    "fortune"
  • Description:

    The African name Ayan was first seen on the US Top 1000 for boys in 2014. It's both simple and distinctive, a winning combination.