African Girl Names

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 girl names from Africa have meanings related to family relationships or to the time or circumstances of a child's birth.

Here is our selection of the best African girl names, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

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African Names

African Boy Names

  1. Amara
    • 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.
  2. Asha
    • Origin:

      Sanskrit; Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "hope; life"
    • 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.
  3. Zora
    • Origin:

      Serbo-Croatian
    • Meaning:

      "dawn"
    • Description:

      Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
  4. Izara
    • 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.
  5. Zuri
    • Origin:

      Kiswahili
    • Meaning:

      "good, beautiful"
    • 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.
  6. Tula
    • 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.
  7. Nala
    • 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.
  8. Anika
    • 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".
  9. Kia
    • Origin:

      African
    • Meaning:

      "season's beginning"
    • Description:

      Kia is a sweet, simple name that is now, unfortunately, associated with a Korean car label. Better today: Nia, Thea, or Keira.
  10. Zendaya
    • Origin:

      Shona
    • 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.
  11. Zella
    • Origin:

      African, Bobangi
    • Meaning:

      "lacking nothing, one who knows the way"
    • Description:

      This is an African name that would fit into any culture.
  12. Zola
    • 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.
  13. Kamali
    • Origin:

      African, Mashona
    • Meaning:

      "spirit guide, protector"
    • Description:

      Spirit that protects babies from illness...and surname of designer Naomi.
  14. Zahara
    • Origin:

      Hebrew; Swahili
    • 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.
  15. Neela
    • 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.
  16. Kamaria
    • Origin:

      Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "moonlight"
    • Description:

      Lush and unusual.
  17. Behati
    • Origin:

      Afrikaans version of Beatrice
    • Meaning:

      "blessed; she who brings happiness"
    • Description:

      Namibian supermodel Behati Prinsloo, who has walked the runway for every designer from Prada to Versace to Vera Wang, has introduced us to this Afrikaans version of Beate or Beatrice, a rhythmic twist on an international favorite.
  18. Nemy
    • Origin:

      Mende
    • Meaning:

      "sweet"
    • Description:

      Friendly and energetic name from the Mende language of West Africa.
  19. Imara
    • Origin:

      Kiswahili
    • Meaning:

      "firm"
    • 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.
  20. Akosua
    • Origin:

      Twi, Ewe, Ghanaian
    • Meaning:

      "born on Sunday"
    • Description:

      Akosua means "born on a Sunday," which relates the name to the sun and thus to fire.