African Girl Names
African girl names hail from all around the continent and offer an uncommon yet usable complement of choices. A few African girl names are starting to catch on in the US, including Zola and Zuri, which feature the exciting Z initial.
Along with Zola and Zuri, other African names for girls in the US Top 1000 include Amara, Anika, Nala, Zendaya, and Zora. One-of-a-kind African girl names given to fewer than five baby girls at last count include Ameyo, Lulit, Nemy, and Thulile.
Africa is a vast continent with an enormous range of diverse cultures, each with its own names and naming traditions. Some African names have meanings related to family relationships or to the time or circumstances of a child's birth.
What's here are not all the African names for girls on Nameberry, but a select group of favorites.
Origin:Igbo, Sanskrit, Arabic
Meaning:"grace, immortal, tribe"
Description:Strong, attractive, and stylish, Amara is a true multicultural choice enjoying some popularity in both the US and the UK. In the US Top 1000 since the turn of this century, Amara has been holding steady in the rankings between overly popular and obscure.
Description:Asha is an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit word for hope or desire, but it is also a Swahili name derived from Aisha, meaning life. Since the ascendance of Ashley through the 1980s and 90s, all baby names Ash-related have been used in the U.S. for both girls and boys, from Ashlyn to Ashby, Ashton to Asher. Despite its separate roots, Asha is part of this group.
Description:Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
Origin:Arabic, Basque, Hausa
Meaning:"shawl; star; section of tree"
Description:Attractive, rhythmic choice with roots in several languages and cultures. It's a lesser-known a celestial name, meaning "star" in Basque and referring to a star in the constellation Boötes in Arabic.
Origin:Nordic diminutive of Anne or African, Hausa
Meaning:"sweetness of face"
Description: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 there will be inevitable confusion over pronunciation, either form is "correct".
Description: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.
Origin:African, meaning unknown
Description: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.
Meaning:"to give thanks"
Description:Zendaya has propelled her unusual African name into the spotlight and up the popularity charts. Zendaya is one of the major baby name influencers of our era.
Origin:Choctaw, Hindi, or Kiswahili
Meaning:"mountain peak, a Libra, or to be tranquil"
Description:Tula is a polyethnic name which, spelled Toula, was used for the heroine of the hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Meaning:"to shine; flower"
Description:Zahara, a delicate but strong multicultural name, came into the spotlight when Angelina Jolie bestowed it on her Ethiopian-born daughter, and we predict other parents will adopt it as well. If you want something simpler than Zahara, consider Zara, a royal name in England--but also the name of a Spanish-based clothing store chain.
Description:This could make a hauntingly evocative name for an American child, striking the perfect balance of the unusual and the familiar. Imara's meaning adds further appeal placing it among the special class of girl names that mean strong, brave, or powerful.
Description:Kia is a sweet, simple name that is now, unfortunately, associated with a Korean car label. Better today: Nia, Thea, or Keira.
Meaning:"lacking nothing, one who knows the way"
Description:This is an African name that would fit into any culture.
Description:This elaboration of the Arabic amīn, meaning "trustworthy" or "to feel safe" was a fast riser in 2022, but has yet to crack the Top 1000. Latvian musical artist Aminata Savadogo's 2021 song "It's Written in the Heavens (Milky Way)" was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2022 Latvian Music Recording Awards, potentially bringing the name into the spotlight.
Description:Friendly and energetic name from the Mende language of West Africa.
Description:Beautiful West African name that could appeal across cultures.
Description:A variation of Nila, a name spread through African by the substantial Indian population there. Also a variant of Neala and Neila.
Origin:Ewe, Akan, Ghanaian, Cherokee
Meaning:"born on Saturday; water"
Description:Ama is a day name used by the Akan people of Ghana for girls born on Saturday. Names that reference a baby's birth by day of the week, time of day, or season of the year are common in many African cultures. Ama is one that can be used happily by parents who live in English-speaking countries.
Description:Lush and unusual.
Origin:African, Nigerian, Yoruba
Meaning:"the crown meets joy"
Description:Short form of Adebayo