When it comes to just about every aspect of culture—from fashion and beauty to music and food—Africa’s influence looms large. And the world’s second-largest continent is also teeming with baby name inspiration! However, Africa, of course, isn’t a monolith, but a collection of more than 50 countries—many of which have a multitude of beautifully unique cultures within. While we’re cherry-picking here to give you an idea of just some beautiful African baby names to consider, if you scratch beneath the surface you will find infinite possibilities. Here are just some of our favorite African baby names.
African Boy Names
Ade: A super sweet Nigerian baby boy name that means “royal.”
Azibo: The Malawi name meaning “earth” also has a “youth” connotation in Nigeria, making this cute baby boy name an extra-special choice.
Chike: This African boy name is a bold Egyptian name with the meaning “God’s strength.” Also, it sounds so cute when spoken!
Dakarai: This three-syllable African boy name lends easily to a host of nicknames including Daka, Kai, and Rai. The name has Zimbabwean roots and means “happiness.”
Davu: The African baby name answer to “David,” which has a powerful sound and means “the beginning.”
Ekon: A Nigerian baby name meaning “strong” that sounds like it, too!
Hamidi: This beautiful African boy name from Kenya translates to “praised, admired.”
Issa: Such a cool African name meaning “God is salvation” in Swahili.
Jabari: This popular African baby name has a modern sound though it’s actually an ancient Egyptian name which means “famous, brave.”
Kasim: We love Kasim, for its bold sound and neat spelling--but also the very cool meaning “controller of anger;” it’s a name given throughout Africa but most often in Nigeria.
Kellan: This fun African baby boy name is well loved in Europe and North America as well. The African meaning is “powerful.”
Kendi: This African name is bold and beautiful; it means “loved one” and is traditionally given to boys but can certainly work as a girl name, too.
Kwame: Any little Kwames are in good company: Not only is it the name of the rapper (who needs no last name), as well as poet Kwame Alexander and Top Chef alum Kwame Onuwachi. Kwame means “born on Saturday” and is of mixed African roots.
Mosi: Meaning “born first,” this African name is a great choice for a first-born baby, or the first son in your family. Mosi is an Egyptian baby boy name.
Odion: Stargazers will love the similar sound to the constellation Orion, but this African baby name is a stellar pick on its own, meaning “born of twins.” (Related: See twin baby name inspiration here!)
Omari: In Swahili, this African boy name means “God the highest,” and from the Egyptian, “high born”...two related meanings worthy of a special little boy.
Salim/Saleem: Either spelling is acceptable on this unique African boy name translating to “peaceful, safe” in Swahili.
Taj: Short, sweet, and oh-so-regal sounding; Taj means “exalted” in Urdu and also carries the ancient sanskrit meaning, “crown.”
Zain: An adaptable African baby name that pairs well with longer middle names; the Swahili translation is to a word meaning flourishing.
African Girl Names
Ada / Adana: We couldn’t choose which one of these gorgeous options to showcase so here are both! Ada is the “first daughter,” and Adana means “her father’s daughter” in Swahili.
Amari: It’s such a lyrical baby girl name and the meaning, “possesses great strength,” gives it extra cred. Amari also has Arabic roots, meaning “moon.” (See more Arabic names here!)
Bahati: You may have heard this popular Swahili name meaning “lucky” or “fortunate” in the States, but it’s still rare and special.
Bisa: A less-heard African girl name translating to “greatly loved.”
Eshe: This one is very pretty and simple, but its Swahili meaning of “life, energy” is anything but subtle.
Hasina: It lends to cute nicknames Hassie, Sisi, or Sina, and the Swahili word for “good” makes this a stellar African girl name.
Jamila/h: With or without the h, we’re all about this African name for girl’s name meaning “beautiful.”
Jina: This African baby name sounds just like the Italian name Gina, but its meaning in Swahili is the “named child.”
Kali: This is a very cool baby girl name which means “energetic” from its African origins and “rosebud” in Greek.
Latrice: The Tanzanian baby girl name meaning “noble woman” is a robust pick for a little one.
Lulu: This super-sweet African baby name meaning “pearl” is used around the world with various, lovely meanings to explore.
Machelle: Meaning “who resembles God,” Machelle has mixed African and Hebrew roots, and feels a bit more exclusive than its French cousin, Michelle. (Related: French Baby Names).
Malika: One you’ve likely heard, this popular African girl name belongs to a Kardashian BFF and, meaning “queen,” it would be a very worthy choice for your little girl.
Makena: This well known name is used around the globe, but its African meaning of “happy one” is extra special.
Nala: If you fell in love with this name when you first watched The Lion King you’re not alone; it’s still a popular African baby name among western parents. Nala means “first drink of water” or “drinking water in the desert,” giving it beautiful symbolism for the baby who is such a blessing.
Neema: The Swahili name meaning “born in prosperity” is a cheerful pick for your little princess.
Sarama: We’re a little obsessed with this long and flowing unique African baby girl name that translates to “nice.”
Tamala: This unique African name for girls means “dark tree,” for a moody nature name any little one will grow proudly into.
Tayla: With a rhyme to the more widely-used Kayla, we love the simplicity of its spelling and sound, and its exquisite meaning; Tayla translates to “she has been seen.”
Zina: With any “Z” name, Baby Girl will likely be the only one like her in kindergarten, which is a reason to go for it! Zina represents a child’s “secret spiritual name” which evokes a sort of mystery we are absolutely loving.
Zuri: She’d be in good company with famous Zuris Marley and Cruise. This spirited Swahili name for girls means “good, beautiful.”
Gender Neutral African Baby Names
Armani: There’s the Italian designer connotation you can’t deny, but this gender neutral African baby name also belongs to famed American football player Watts and rapper Depaul. Armani means “wishes” in Nigerian.
Ashanti: Like the singer, or just because you love it! This African baby name can be given to a boy or girl. Ashanti is derived from the Kiswahili word for “thank you.”
Imani: Technically an Arabic name, it’s widely used in Africa for both boys and girls. Imani is also the seventh and last night of Kwanzaa, celebrating the pillar of faith.
Ivory: If thinking about an African place name, the Ivory Coast is a stunning choice. This one is considered a gender-neutral baby name in Africa.
Senegal: Another gender neutral place name representing the coastal West African republic that boasts a tropical climate and vibrant plant and animal life.
Beyond African Baby Names…
Looking for more inspiring baby names? Check out our other lists of other unique and popular baby names...
- Arabic Baby Names
- Biblical Baby Names
- Brazilian Baby Names
- British Baby Names
- Chinese Baby Names
- French Baby Names
- German Baby Names
- Greek Baby Names
- Hawaiian Baby Names
- Irish Baby Names
- Italian Baby Names
- Japanese Baby Names
- Korean Baby Names
- Mexican Baby Names
- Nature Baby Names
- Old-Fashioned Baby Names
- Southern Baby Names
- Spanish Baby Names
- Twin Baby Names
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