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10 Cute African Names and Meanings You May Want To Consider for Your Baby

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Picking a name for a child could be a tough decision.  Many African countries have traditional names that draw significant meaning from our cultural legacy.

Here are 10 beautiful African baby names to consider:


cute baby girl 3


Nefertari originates from Kemet (ancient Egypt) and it means the “most beautiful.”

What people are saying

77 thoughts on “10 Cute African Names and Meanings You May Want To Consider for Your Baby

  1. Joan Coulter says:

    No. The resumes gets no further than File 13. Plus, they sound stooped. Most people of color can't find Africa on the map and know even less about the history. Okay, I'm ready for the barrage of dissenters. LOL

  2. Enoch John says:

    mihret (mercy) in eritrea also beautiful name

  3. Chimere says:

    @Joan that maybe true for some employers. My name is Nigerian and i've been in corporate America for 5 yrs. My coworker Shemika had no issues getting hired.

  4. Tehut Getahun says:

    I'd also add that a sense of place and history is worth more to a child than feeling better equipped to fight for space in the mainstream structure. We need to learn that the world is small enough that black is african and african is black. Let's share and build culture rather than trying to teach our children to ape another culture that will never fully accept them.

    That said, a lot of these names weren't that cute…..

  5. Mary Njoka says:

    Asheri means happiness and is a Lamnso name from Cameroon.

  6. Kay Bell says:

    I liked "Makemba" and "Amara"!

  7. Kay Bell says:

    Too sweet…

    and yes girl… I agree… I did like "Makemba" tho!

  8. Tehut Getahun says:

    Kay Bell Yeah, there were only like 3-4 that I didn't like. The whole new-egyptian thing doesn't do it for me. I liked Adisa and a bunch of others. I thought Makemba was really cute and even started thinking of nicknames—-Kemba, Maki, Emba or even Ema if you realllllly need the Euro sound. lol

  9. Kay Bell says:

    LMAO…. yeah.. I saw "Akhenaten" and "Nefetari" and I was like… wow…
    And I know right? I was thinking of nicknames too… my fam would probably call her "Kem"… lol… I like "Emba" …..That's adorable!

  10. Tehut Getahun says:

    Kay Bell Come to think of it, so would I. The fewer syllables the better. But we'd also use Maki. And we'd Ethiopianize it with an "-eye' at the end, kind of like they do -ito in Spanish. Maki-iye a lot.

  11. Kevin Smith says:

    Tehut Getahun What are they suppose to say? Those names come from Ancient Kemet. Furthermore, are you trying to say Egypt is better than Kemet?

  12. Tehut Getahun says:

    Kevin Smith I'm not trying to say any of that. Just that those names are recognizable and unattractive to me. If you want to get into the politics of it we can talk a little bit about how those names are associated with Egypt in the wider consciousness, how Nile Delta civilizations are the only ones given legitimacy in the wider world when we know there were at impressive civilizations in South, West, and East Africa and here we all are still trying to prove that Egyptians were black. But all I was saying originally was that I'm not into those names.

  13. Tehut Getahun says:

    Oh, and Central Africa. I forgot there was a huge civilization in Chad. And that's the history that I'm most interested in immortalizing. We can reclaim Egypt too, that's good. But we can't act like the entirety of our cultural inheritance is in the Nile Delta.

  14. Kevin Smith says:

    Tehut Getahun O ok great! Was just asking. By the way there is no debate whether Kemet was black or not. Kemet was black. History tells us that Kemet was built long before any other race stepped foot in Africa. It wasn't into 1700 BC when the hyksos came to Kemet. There was no other people but Black in Kemet before then. Kemet was already built thousands of years before then.

  15. Kay Bell says:

    Tehut Getahun : Right on! That's friggin adorable! I like your name too by the way…

    **Damn…I commented too slow… my comment is so irrelevant compared to the civilization conversation…lmao…***

  16. Joan Coulter says:

    Chimere, whether you believe it or not, Africans are viewed very differently from people know as African Americans. Your being African having an African name makes sense. Of course you got hired – you're Nigerian! 🙂

  17. Joan Coulter says:

    Tehut, I agree with much of your opinion. However, I am a proponent of TEACHING, both African AND African-American history so our children can have a better sense of self and be better equipped to deal within mainstream, rather than simply giving them a name with no historic background or substance that would help them to identify who they really are and the greatness of their people. I have know too many people who simply pick a name out of a book, name their child that and keep it moving.

  18. Joan Coulter says:

    Nefertari also known as Nefertari Merytmut was one of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great.[1] Nefertari means 'Beautiful Companion' and Meritmut means 'Beloved of [the Goddess] Mut'. She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut. Her lavishly decorated tomb, QV66, is the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens. Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument here.

  19. Monica Yvette says:

    My daughter name is Nefera

  20. Chimere says:

    @Joan my last name is not Nigerian. It's one of the most common up there with Smith, Jones, etc. I understand your pov. Nefertari is totally different from La'Quisha.

  21. Lefa Morobe says:

    I'm sorry, 80% of the names you cited don't have anything on the name "Lehakwe" which is a Sesotho name meaning uber preciousness" (to one's heart). Its rare and only given to baby girls.

  22. Jason Belchman says:

    Just a heads up….you aren't African anymore. You are an an American. Please pick an easier name to say.

  23. Just a heads sound ignorant. We will ALWAYS be African. Just sound it out..smh

  24. If your your so american why do you use a Germanic name?Go back a few centuries and pick yourself an English name.Go further back in time and pick a native american name for yourself.

  25. If your your so american why do you use a Germanic name?Go back a few centuries and pick yourself an English name.Go further back in time and pick a native american name for yourself.

  26. I love your daughters name !

  27. Wannie J. Peterkin dont feed the troll dont feed the troll lmao his profile picture is fake as hell and so is his profile just a loser with nothing to do

  28. Bwyz Masege says:

    Nice names……but the list ya shota!

  29. Chrisguy Oliveira says:

    Nº 5, Nzinga is from Angola

  30. What a great article. Thank you Atlanta Black Star. If you give your baby an African first name, obviously, it should have an African last name. You child will thank you one day. A great black historian once said: Blacks are the only people who have lost our sense of culture, identify and nationhood. Without your true culture names, how can you seek meaning of what and who you are, as well as your purpose on the planet? It really hurts me when I see balcks making excuses to retain Europeans names, the very people who made us stop using our cultural names. Not only that, as blacks travel the world over, with these slave names, all one need to say is their name, and people will know immediately, you came from people who were held as slaves. How else did we get these names. Direct descendants of people held as slaves. It makes whites feel good to see us usiing their names, as if we never had our own culture names, and it also reminds them, how they once controlled black people.

  31. One day, and very soon, black people will reject using Eurpopean names. They certainly are not African people's names.

  32. Bwire Vincent says:

    Swahili names (East Africa)
    Waridi – Rose
    Dhahabu – Gold
    Malkia – Princess
    Lulu – Pearl
    Hodari – Brave

    Biblical names in Swahili
    Jacob – Yakubu
    John – Yohana
    Peter – Petro
    Eve – Awa
    Mary – Maria
    Joseph – Yusufu
    Judas – Yuda

    Last but not least, names after our great leaders.
    Lumumba (Patrice Lumumba-Congo Zaire)
    Kwame (Kwame Nkrumah-Ghana) Mandela (Nelson Mandela-South Africa)
    Biko (Steve Biko- South Africa) Kaunda (Kenneth Kaunda-Zambia) Nyerere (Julius Nyerere-Tanzania)

  33. Jason Belchman So I guess, you would say you are not European anymore, but you are American, is that correct? Suppose someone made you take an Mexican name, or an Arab name, you think you would be pleased with those names? Eveybody wants to tell African people how to live our lives, and disrespect our culture. Saying what you said, who are you to tell us, we should use foreign names, and not our culture names? You cannot speak for African people. Thank you.

  34. Chrisguy Oliveira Let me also add, when I aquired the name Nzingha, I had no idea what country in Africa Nzingha was from, years later, I learned, Nzingha was from Ndongo (Angola) where many African people were kidnapped, and brought to a part of the US my parents were born and raised. They kidnapped so many people from Ndongo (Angola), they named the plantation Angola, not only do I feel my roots are in Ndongo, but, I could very well be related biologically to Nzingha. I get goose bumps thinking about it. All praise is due our great queen, she tried to save us, she fought forty (40) years against the the slave hunting Portuguese.

  35. James Camp says:

    hi, this is a really great article

  36. I am a South African. Shaka doesn't mean King or Chief. It means worms, AmaShaka-worms. Yes Shaka was a King, but pls get your facts right

  37. Andrew Njoroge says:

    quite funny

  38. Lawrence Eljay Mabilane says:

    Its funny because us africans we really use those names.They are not even common in our communities.You rarely get the name Shaka in south africa except the legendary king himself.

  39. Lawrence Eljay Mabilane says:

    We really dont use I meant

  40. Alemeshete Gierefe says:

    No Amara origin is from Ethiopia not from Nigeria but the meaning is correct the even the kid in the pic is Ethiopian not Nigerian

  41. Alemeshete Gierefe says:

    No Amara origin is from Ethiopia not from Nigeria but the meaning is correct the even the kid in the pic is Ethiopian not Nigerian

  42. Joan I despise self hating negros like yourself!

  43. @Alemeshete Gierefe,sorry,you got it wrong.'Amara' is not Ethiopian,its Nigerian(from Igbo Ethnic Language group in Nigeria) and it means Grace or Elegance as rightly put by this author.Its written in full as 'Amarachukwu' which meanings 'Grace of God' and usually given to a female child.'Chukwu' means God in Nigeria(Igbo) .Other beautiful Nigeria(Igbo) names include:
    Ngozi=Blessing (or Ngozichukwu=Blessing of God)
    Ezinne=Good Mother
    Ogbonna=Father's reincarnate
    Nwaka=a Child is worth more than money
    Emeka= Thanks be to God
    Chinedu= God guides/guards
    Ike=God's power

  44. Kerian Hill says:

    My daughter's name is "Nailah". Origin Egyptian-Meaning 'Successful'

  45. Rw Akile says:

    Adwoa – Monday born Girl – Kwadwoa – Boy Pronunciation: (Ah-ju-wa and Kwah-ju-wa or most often rendered "Ko-jo" [] Abena (Girls)- Kwabena (Boys) for Tuesday born [] Akua (Girls) – Kweku (Boys) for Wednesday born [] Ya ("Yah' – Girls) – Yao (Yah-ow Boys) Thursday born [] Afua (Ah-fu-ah – Girls) – Kofi (koe fee – Boys) Friday born [] Ama (Ah-mah – Girls) – Kwame (Kwah-mey – Boys) Saturday born [] Akosua (ah-koe-su-ah – Girls) – Kwasi or Kwesi (Boys Kwah-see/Kway-see) Sunday born are Akan based names expressed from Ivory coast to Togo and in the US in Jamaica, Belize, Trinidad etc. for hundreds of years see Lorenzo Dow Turner's book {Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect – written in 1948) When we give these names we must have no fear and we must instill this in our children.

  46. Per La Moda says:

    lol makemba doesnt mean congolese goddess it means plantains in congolese

  47. Jamal Young says:

    Why even pay that lonely loser any attention?

  48. Kay Newman says:

    You may be right,but these are typical Ghanaian names,depending on how you've written them.There may be other versions,e.g. Koffie ; that's typical Ivorian.

  49. No.2 ain't right. Shaka Zulu was the great Zulu leader but he word Shaka in Zulu means Shark.

  50. Shaka was Zulu and in zulu his name doesn't mean worms nor does it mean great leader, even though he was one. The word Shaka means Shark

  51. Wahiid Ali says:

    Joan Coulter Which matters most, being yourself or being who "they" want you to be? If one is strong enough to be him/herself, they are definitely strong enough to succeed.

  52. Wahiid Ali says:

    "Most people of color can't find Africa on the map…" is erroneous and racist. "…and know even less about the history." Evidently knowledge of history has not given you dignity.

  53. Jimmy Doug says:

    Wahiid Ali they want you to be african which is the coolest thing to be

  54. Jimmy Doug says:

    hell no biblical names?

  55. Theodora Anagor says:

    Names have crossed the continent, it doesn't mean that it is wrong.

  56. Theodora Anagor says:

    Angola was once part of the Congo.

  57. How do u pronounce this name pls?

  58. Vic Stafford says:

    Some of us gleefully denounce our ignorance about ourselves. We will know our history and true culture if we teach ourselves. There are some amongst who have studied our history but are shunned. I'm glad that I have learned my history and will share with those who are willing to listen. Life in America has conditioned us to self hate.

  59. Joan Coulter says:

    Nzingha, that might be true hopefully someday. But, it's not the Black people who hold the jobs being given out. And – Tehut – what does "aping the culture" mean? We need to survive within the culture since that's where we are. That is not to say that one denies their own culture, but find as much success and Quality of Life as possible within the. That means outside of being self-employed, training oneself to the best of one's ability within the dominating culture and being to get employment with the highest salary.

  60. Joan Coulter says:

    Sherise McDaniel You wish. You do not know a thing about me. It shows me the level of your ignorance when you take an opinion and turn it into self-hate. How many youngsters and young adults have you taught Black History to? I have many.

  61. Joan Coulter I think I understand what you are saying, and you say many things. Look, we cannot continue to be held hostage to whites because they hold the jobs, we need to come up out of this, and be about self determination, create our own jobs, and be free to do what we feel is right, then we need to stop being afraid to do what we feel is right, if we wish to change our names, and still work for whites or white control jobs we do it, and fight for what is right, they do not have the right to fire blacks for changing our names to our indigenous, and culcure names. I knew this was the reason, but this is the first time I have heard a black say why, like you have done. I am very sorry to hear you say it, and it does not have to be, we stand up and fight for what is right.

  62. I have Yakini, my daughter, her daughter is Zela, both west African names, I also have a Kamari, and another granddaughter Ayana.

  63. Lynda Masuku says:

    Kisha Asabea Andrew LEE-HAA-CKWEH

  64. Lynda Masuku says:

    Kisha Asabea Andrew LEE-HAA-CKWEH

  65. Lynda Masuku says:

    The word may mean shark, but Shaka Zulu was not named after a shark. He was named after a stomach tumor called itshaka because It was impossible in those days for an unmarried woman to fall pregnant. So shaka was insulted and called Tshaka.

  66. Lynda Masuku says:

    Mandy Msimango The word may mean shark, but Shaka Zulu was not named after a shark. He was named after a stomach tumor called itshaka because It was impossible in those days for an unmarried woman to fall pregnant. So shaka was insulted and called Tshaka.

  67. Maybe because since birth European history (his-story) is shoved into our brains. Yes it will always be dissenters because in the same breath you enlighten and then you destroy. Yeah, you know SOME stuff about Arica then you say that it's not good enough because you can never get a job. In essence, instead of speaking life being an elder, you speak death by speaking compromise and conformity. High salaries are just high salaries, love of oneself and having a connectedness to others will always be more fulfilling than high salaries.

    You ones with the knowledge and know-how always move away from blackness as if that's going to help you get accepted by them. They will never compromise, they will never bend, fold, or take a step back. We can never satisfy them, because they will never be content, they always take, take, take………………..Whether you be named Ahber, Jonathan, or Kimba, it won't matter. Outside of maybe your close family, and youngsters at church, the children that really need guidance and help never get it because black person that think they something, move away……yes move away from blackness and then speak on what they need to do from a condescending place. I'm over it with people that do this. So yeah I dissented a long time ago, because I know the truth all away around the board.

  68. Ja'von Brown says:

    Joan Coulter Likewise you don't know a thing about the millions of Black people YOU made such asinine statements about either. I guess its ok to do so when you're trying to disparage others but not when you get back what you put out. You continue being a coward.

  69. Ja'von Brown says:

    Just a heads up….fuck you and your family thinking in 2015 you can tell Black people who we are and what to name our kids.

  70. Joan Coulter says:

    Sherise McDaniel Just saw this. Sherise, you don't know a thing about me. I do know some Negroes don't like the truth.

  71. Joan Coulter says:

    Wahiid Ali Don't like the truth either.

  72. Joan Coulter says:

    Wahiid Ali Who said anything about succeeding or not succeeding?

  73. Sambo Jallo says:

    Idrissa is an arabian name

  74. Adisa is a Nigerian name from the Yoruba people.

  75. Okey S. Nwabiafra Some names do cross the Geographical boundaries, this is one of them it seems. My brother's name is Mwenda (Kenya) only to find that the name is also in Uganda and Congo

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