The world of African baby girl names is vast and varied.
A continent that is bigger than China, India, the U.S., and Europe combined – it’s no wonder there is such richness and depth when it comes to naming its children.
Born from a long line of different naming traditions, African girl names and meanings often have an interesting connection to one another.
In various places in Africa, for example, babies are named based on what was happening in the family when they were born.
The Xhosa girl’s name Phumsa, for example, meaning “give people some rest”, may be given to a baby who brings some comfort after a period of hardship.
The name Lindiwe, also of Xhosa origins, is a girl’s name meaning “waited for” and might be given after a long line of boys has been born.
Across the continent, babies are also named after the days they were born (Adwoa would be born on a Monday), the order of their birth in the family (Alaba is a Yoruba name meaning the second child after twins), or characteristics they may someday embody (the Swahili Barika means successful.)
One thing’s for sure is that African girl names tend to come with a whole lot of history – and tracing those roots can help you make the most meaningful choice for your baby.
So, next question:
What are some African girl names that will be a good match for your new arrival?
Why don’t we start here:
In this article: 📝
- What is the African word for princess?
- What are African names for girls?
- West African girl names
- East African girl names
- Southern African baby girl names
- Northern African girl names
- African American girl names
What is the African word for princess?
Well, that depends on what language you’re speaking, but here are some of our favorites from various places:
- Jahzara: (Ethiopian)
- Urbi: (Egyptian)
- Shahina: (Arabic)
- Nkosazana: (Xhosa)
- Adaeze: (Igbo)
What are African names for girls?
And now, let’s go on a whirlwind journey around the continent and beyond.
We’ve divided these beautiful African girl names into the regions where they are perhaps best known – but we now live in a world where names travel far and wide.
You might find these names cropping up all over the globe.
Before we explore region by region, let’s kickstart your quest for the perfect African girl name by narrowing down to specific meanings:
What African girl name means blessing?
Your babe is a gift – we say shout it from the rooftops!
Here are some sweet African girl names to capture your sentiments:
- Yumna: Meaning “good fortune” in Swahili.
- Masego: Meaning “blessings”. Once a rare name stateside, Masego is now making waves as the stage moniker of American musician Micah Davis.
- Madalitso: A gender-neutral Southern African name meaning “a blessed person”.
- Ashanti: Meaning “gratitude”. It may not mean “blessing,” but this Ghanaian name will no doubt leave baby feeling appreciated.
- Blessing: Meaning, well, there you have it.
What is the African name for Angel?
Say no more:
- Malaika: Meaning “angel”. A popular Swahili name, Malaika stems from the Arabic word malak.
What African girl name means queen?
We love this energy for your future leading lady.
- Nala: Meaning “queen” or “successful”. Made all the more famous for mini millennials everywhere with The Lion King. 🦁
- Thema: A Ghanaian girl’s name meaning “queen”.
- Sade: In the Yoruba language, Sade means “honor earns a crown”. Not exact but a fine encouragement for your daughter to err towards respect, high morals, and higher achievements. 👑
Not to mention a fitting tribute to the Nigerian-British singer. 🎵
What African girl name means sun?
How to celebrate this new light of your life?
We’ve got you:
- Kianga: Meaning “sunshine” or “ray of light”. ☀️
- Addae: Meaning “morning sun”. Technically Addae is an African boy’s name, but if it fits, why not?
- Nomalanga: We love the vibrant disposition of this Zulu name. It means “sunny”. 🌅
What African girl name means happiness?
And finally, for the joyful little spirit bringing so much positive energy into your home, how about:
- Makena: Meaning “the happy one”.
- Keitumetse: Meaning “I am happy”. 💃
- Thabisa: Meaning “to bring joy”.
West African girl names
West Africa is rich in diversity, between the various tribes, cultures, and landscapes.
It’s vastness is made up of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha.
And amongst this eclectic part of the continent are a wealth of African girl names and meanings:
- Abeni: Meaning “a girl who is prayed for”. ✨
- Ada: Meaning “firstborn daughter”. Can also be considered a short form of the German girl’s name Adelaide, meaning “noble”.
- Alaba: A Nigerian name meaning “second child after twins”.
- Amara: As an Igbo name, Amara means “grace and mercy”. 🙏🏽
- Amma: This Ghanaian name means “born on a Saturday”.
- Ameyo: Another West African name meaning “born on Saturday”.
- Bamidele: Meaning “follow me home” in the Yoruba language.
- Chidinma: Meaning “God is good”.
- Chimamanda: Meaning “my God will not fail”. Made famous by the Nigerian writer and storyteller Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 📕
- Efua: Meaning “born on Friday”. Ghanaian in origin.
- Esi: Meaning “born on Sunday”. Another renowned writer to make our list: Esi Edugyan. 📘
- Habiba: An Arabic name popular in North Africa, it means “beloved”.
- Ife: Meaning “love”. ❤️
- Izara: Meaning “star” or “part of a tree”. A name that grows on you.
- Kehinde: A short form of Omokehinde, meaning “ the second-born twin”.
- Mariama: A variation of the Arabic name Maryam meaning “rebellious” or “bitter”. Related to Mary, Miriam, and Marie.
- Monifa: This Egyptian name means “lucky”.
- Oluchi: A Nigerian name meaning “God’s work”.
- Taiwo: Meaning “the first twin to taste the world.” Adorable.
East African girl names
East Africa includes Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Somaliland, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Home to Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, East Africa is flush with dramatic landscapes and incredible wildlife.
And in the midst of its impressive geography, you’ll find an abundance of arresting African girl names.
Here’s some of our favorites:
- Aberash: Meaning “giving off light”.
- Asha: Meaning “alive and well”. Pure and simple.
- Barika: A Muslim girl’s name meaning “bloom” or “successful”.
- Chiumbo: This sweet Kenyan name means “small child”.
- Hibo: Meaning “gift”. 🎁
- Imani: A Swahili baby name meaning “faith”.
- Kamaria: Meaning “moon” in Swahili. 🌛
- Abeba: Meaning “flower”. 🌼
- Kessie: Meaning “cassia tree”. A variation of the Hebrew girl’s name Keziah.
- Nia: Meaning “bright” or “purpose” in Swahili.
- Ramla: Meaning “fortune teller”.
- Rehema: Meaning “compassion”. 💕
- Shani: Meaning “marvel” or “wonderous”.
- Taraji: Meaning “hope”.
- Zahara: Meaning “flowering” in Arabic. 🌷
- Zuri: Meaning “beautiful”.
- Winda: Meaning “hunter”.
Southern African baby girl names
Think: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Famously called the Rainbow Nation, South Africa is known for the diverse cultures and religions that make up this alluring region.
With its fusion of cultural influences, you’ll find no shortage of unique African girl names and meanings:
- Anele: Meaning “enough” or “last born”.
- Kaya: A popular Zulu name meaning “home” or “restful place”. 🏠
- Lerato: Meaning “love” or “song of my soul”.
- Mandisa: Meaning simply “sweet”. 🍯
- Mpho: Meaning “gift”. 🎁
- Nandipha: Meaning “God’s gift”.
- Oratile: Meaning “origin”.
- Palesa: Meaning “flower”. 💐
- Puleng: Meaning “out in the rain”.
- Sibongile: Meaning “we are thankful”.
- Thandiwe: Meaning “loved one”.
- Tsholofelo: Meaning “hope”.
- Siphesihle: Meaning “a beautiful gift”.
- Zola: A popular name in South Africa meaning “calm” or “peaceful”.
Northern African girl names
Stretching from the Atlantic shoreline to the Red Sea in the East, Northern Africa geographically includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara.
Here lies the vast Sahara Desert, the Nile River, tumbling ancient ruins, and traces of diverse ruling empires.
Arabic is the majority language in North Africa, which you’ll see reflected in its most popular girl names:
- Abdallah: Meaning “servant of Allah”.
- Abiba: Meaning “the beloved one”.
- Aicha: Meaning “alive and well”.
- Alkebu-lan: Known as the oldest indigenous name in Africa, Alkebu-lan may mean “mother of mankind”.
- Anipe: Meaning “daughter of the Nile”.
- Ayaan: Meaning “wide-eyed”. 🌹
- Cleopatra: An iconic name forever tied to Egypt, Cleopatra is actually Greek in origin and means “glory of the father”.
- Fatima: Meaning “captivating” or “one who abstains”.
- Hafsah: Meaning “young lioness”.
- Hasana: Meaning “beautiful” or “fair”.
- Khadija: Meaning “early baby”, “respected”, or “trustworthy”.
- Panya: Meaning “crowned in victory”.
- Kahina: Meaning “the diviner”.
- Nafeesa: Meaning “precious” or “valuable”.
African American girl names
And finally, here are some names that have special significance in our American corner of the African diaspora:
- Aaliyah: Meaning “exalted” or “highborn”.
- Aniyah: Meaning “God favors”.
- Ava: Meaning “bird”, “life”, or “voice”. And a tribute to Ava DuVernay. 🎬
- Breonna: Meaning “noble one”.
- Chantelle: From the French name Chantal, which means “stone”.
- Destiny: Meaning “fate”.
- Ebony: Meaning “deep black wood”.
- Essence: Meaning “aura” or “nature”.
- Gabrielle: Meaning “God is my strength”.
- Gayle: Meaning “my father is joy”, from the Hebrew name Abigail.
- Keisha: Meaning “cassia” or “cinnamon”. A variation of the Hebrew Keziah.
- Kiara: A global name meaning “light”, “little dark one”, or “clear”. Your choice mama.
- Makeba: A tribute to the inimitable South African singing sensation Miram Makeba.
- Nevaeh: As in “heaven” spelled backward.
- Nia: Meaning “goal” or “purpose”. Eyes on the prize.
- Rihanna: Want a badass name for a girl? Look no further than this Welsh name, meaning “goddess” or “great queen”.
- Shanice: Meaning “God is merciful”.
- Toni: Meaning “beyond praise”. An inspiring name made famous by American Novelist and author of Beloved, Toni Morrison.
- Yolanda: Meaning “violet flower”.
- Zari: Meaning “golden”.
Our list of African names for girls is far from extensive.
With a continent as vast, varied, and vibrant, the sheer amount of monikers Africa boasts is immeasurable.
So make sure you tap into our additional list of 100 African baby names.
Don’t worry mama, the right name will come to you.
Just ask the moms on Peanut.