African Names

  1. Abdalla
    • Origin:

      African
    • Meaning:

      "servant of God"
    • Description:

      This Muslim name derived from the Arabic is found in North and East Africa.
  2. Aisha
    • Origin:

      Arabic; Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "living, prosperous"
    • Description:

      Aisha was Muhammad's favorite wife, making this lovely name and its myriad variations hugely popular among Muslims and also African-Americans. It's been energized by TV personality Aisha Tyler. Pronunciation is usually eye-EE-sha but some say ay-sha.
  3. Ali
    • Origin:

      Short form of Alison or Alice or Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "supreme, exalted"
    • Description:

      One of the sweet simple unisex names balanced enough to stand on its own. Ali can either be used as a shortening of Al- beginning names and is also an Arabic name in its own right.
  4. Alika
    • Origin:

      Hawaiian; Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "truthful; most beautiful"
    • Description:

      Alika is a multicultural choice that's far off the beaten track.
  5. Amari
    • Origin:

      Hebrew, Sanskrit, Latin, Yoruba
    • Meaning:

      "eternal, goddess, loved, strength"
    • Description:

      Amari is a name that's rising in popularity for both boys and girls in the US, used last year for about 2000 baby boys and 1000 baby girls. It's among the Top 20 gender neutral names.
  6. 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".
  7. Diji
    • Origin:

      Nigerian
    • Meaning:

      "a farmer"
    • Description:

      Accessible multicultural name. Kot Diji is a site of ancient remains in modern-day Pakistan.
  8. Fana
    • Origin:

      African
    • Meaning:

      "light or jungle"
    • Description:

      Simple, delicate, and unusual.
  9. Iyabo
    • Origin:

      African, Yoruba
    • Meaning:

      "mother has returned"
    • Description:

      A lively name often used to honor a deceased grandmother in Yoruba culture.
  10. 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.
  11. Jabari
    • Origin:

      Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "comforter, bringer of consolation"
    • Description:

      Coolly attractive African name, with distinguished representatives in sports and literature. Jabari has been on the rise recently, returning to the US Top 1000 in 2023.
  12. Kamali
    • Origin:

      African, Mashona
    • Meaning:

      "spirit guide, protector"
    • Description:

      Spirit that protects babies from illness...and surname of designer Naomi.
  13. Kanika
    • Origin:

      African, Mwera
    • Meaning:

      "black cloth"
    • Description:

      Energetic choice that bounces off the tongue.
  14. Kanye
    • Origin:

      African place-name, Nigeria
    • Meaning:

      "honor, tribute"
    • Description:

      The popularity of the charismatic rapper-producer Kanye West has propelled his name into the Top 900. In addition to its African derivation, it is a Hawaiian name meaning 'free'.
  15. Kenya
    • 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.
  16. Kobe
    • Origin:

      Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "tortoise"
    • Description:

      Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, whose name was inspired by a Japanese steak house, brought this energetic and appealing name into -- and out of -- the mix. Bryant's tragic death in a helicopter crash in 2020 increased the popularity of his name, as fans and admirers named their children Kobe in honor of the star.
  17. Marini
    • Origin:

      Swahili
    • Meaning:

      "healthy, pretty"
    • Description:

      A gorgeous Swahili name for girls that hits multiple trends — Mar- names like Margot and Marley, and names that end in I, like Leilani and Zuri.
  18. Massai
    • Origin:

      African tribe; also Italian
    • Meaning:

      "owner of land and farms"
    • Description:

      Unusual name chosen for her son by actress Nia Long, who combined it with the even more unusual literary middle name, Zhivago.
  19. 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.
  20. Nia
    • Origin:

      Swahili; Welsh form of the Irish Niamh,"resolve; brilliance"
    • Meaning:

      "resolve; brilliance"
    • Description:

      Short but energetic and substantial, Nia has special meaning for African-American parents, as it's one of the days of Kwanza. Nia also benefits by its similarity to (yet differentness from) the megapopular Mia.