African Boy Names
African boy names represent the many languages and cultures from around the continent. Americans may be familiar with African names such as Chidi, Kamau, Neo, Kehinde, and Nnamdi through pop culture references. Barack, a Swahili name, is the widest known, as the name of 44th President Barack Obama.
Amari is currently the most popular African boy name in the United States. Along with Amari, other African boy names in the US Top 1000 are Omari, Ayan, Dakari, Sekani, Khari, and Zaire. Rare African boy names worth considering include Idir, Odion, Zenebe, and Uzochi.
African baby names for boys are historic choices that honor heritage. The possibilities are diverse and varied from the range of African countries and cultures.
Origin:Latin or Tswana
Meaning:"new or gift"
Description:This nouveau name of Keanu Reeves's character in The Matrix has not enjoyed the same burst of popularity as its female counterpart, Trinity, but it definitely sounds, well, newer. Neo Rauch is an interesting contemporary German artist.
Description:An originally male name also used for girls, mostly because of its soft sound and vowel ending. Related to names and words in a range of languages—Yoruba, Thai, Hebrew—and with a variety of positive meanings.
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.
Meaning:"people on the rocks; laugh"
Description:Sekani was the fastest-rising boy name of 2019, inspired by the character Sekani Carter in the 2018 movie The Hate U Give.
Description:"Return of the Jedi": strongly linked to the complex "Star Wars" character, Obi Wan Kenobi.
Description:Though used quite often for babies of both sexes, Khari, meaning "kingly," was traditionally a boys' name. Musical couple Fetty Wop and Masika Kalysha, however, named their daughter Khari.
Meaning:"born on Saturday"
Description: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 Ghanaians have a name using this system (think Kofi Annan, whose name means born on a Friday).
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.
Description:Singular, strong, and rare outside East Africa.
Meaning:"time of trouble"
Description:African name with Niko-nickname option.
Origin:Ghanaian, Akan, Twi
Meaning:"born on Friday"
Description:This Akan day name is very much associated with Kofi Annan, the seventh secretary general of the United Nations. 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 Ghanaians have a name using this system.
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."
Description:An easily assimilated African name, a novel twist on Johnny.
Origin:Ghanaian, Akan, Twi
Meaning:"Born on a Wednesday"
Description: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).
Meaning:"my father is alive"
Description:In the Igbo culture of Nigeria, the name Nnamdi is given to baby boys who are thought to be reincarnations of their grandfathers. The name is familiar via Nnamdi Asomugha, a former NFL player married to Kerry Washington.
Meaning:"he who inspires awe"
Description:King Tafari was the last king of Ethiopia. He is worshipped today as an incarnation of God by Rastafarians.
Meaning:"born on Monday"
Description:The Ashantis of Ghana traditionally use this animated name for boys born on Monday. The girls' equivalent is Adwoa, pronounced ahj-wa.
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.
Description:This name from the Shona language is a new entrant to the Top 1000 in the US.
Description:Zuberi has separate origins as a Swahili given name meaning "strong," and an Arabic surname — primarily among Sunni Muslims in Pakistan — meaning "superior."