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.
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?
- African names for girls
- West 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)
And now let’s go on a whirlwind journey around the continent and beyond:
African names for girls
(Sidebar: 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.)
West African girl names
(West Africa 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.)
- Abeni, a girl who is prayed for.
- Ada, for your firstborn daughter.
- Alaba is the second child after twins.
- Amara, for a child filled with grace and mercy.
- Amma is born on a Saturday.
- Bamidele. Follow me home.
- Chidinma. God is beautiful. 💟
- Chimamanda, because God will not fail. And if you’re a fan of the famous author.📕
- Efua. Born on Friday.
- Esi. Because she’s God’s gift. And another renowned writer. 📘
- Hadiza. Always first.
- Ime means patience (either yours or theirs).
- Izara means part of a tree. A name that grows on you.
- Kehinde, for the twin who comes out second.
- Mariama. Gift of God.
- Monifa. I am lucky.
- Oluchi means God’s work.
- Sade. Honor earns a crown. A fitting tribute to the singer. 🎵
- Taiwo, meaning “taste the world.” Delicious.
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.)
- Aberash, because they give off light.
- Asha. Life. Pure and simple.
- Barika, because success awaits.
- Chiumbo, a sweet name that means small child.
- Hibo means gift. 🎁
- Imani, because you gotta have faith.
- Kamaria, for your moon child. 🌛
- Abeba, for a little flower. 🌼
- Kes, a baby who was born when their father was in trouble.
- Makena. Happy one.
- Malaika. Angel.
- Nala. And here is another gift. 🎁
- Nia, a baby born with purpose.
- Ramla, who will predict the future.
- Rehema. Compassion. 💕
- Shani. Simply wonderful.
- Taraji. There is hope.
- Zahara. A flower. 🌷
- Zuri. Just beautiful.
- Winda, a hunter.
Southern African baby girl names
(Think: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.)
- Anele. The last born.
- Blessing. Well, there you have it.
- Elna, meaning beloved.
- Kaya, meaning home or restful place. 🏠
- Lerato. Love. 💌
- Gamuchirai. Receiving blessings from God.
- Keitumetse. I am happy! 🧡
- Mandisa. Simply sweet. 🍯
- Marli. Star of the sea. 💫🌊 Wished-for child.
- Masego. Blessings. And a shout out to the musician.
- Mpho. A gift. 🎁
- Nandipha, meaning God’s gift.
- Oratile. The origin? Origin. That’s what it means.
- Palesa. Flower. 💐
- Puleng, which is in the rain.
- Sibongile. We thank you!
- Thabisa. To bring joy.
- Thandiwe. Loving one. 💖
- Tsholofelo. Hope.
- Siphesihle. A precious gift from God.
- Zola. Quiet or peaceful.
Northern African girl names
(This area includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Western Sahara.)
- Abdallah. Servant of God
- Abiba. The beloved one.
- Aicha. Alive and well!
- Alkebu-lan, known as the oldest name in Africa. It may mean Mother of Mankind.
- Anipe, daughter of the Nile.
- Ayaan. She is a beautiful flower. 🌹
- Cleopatra, a classic, of course.
- Fatima. Motherly.
- Hasana. Beautiful.
- Khadija. Respected. Trustworthy.
- Panya, a little mouse. 🐭
- Siman. Two souls becoming one through their child.
- Sura, a multicultural name meaning brave, princess and traveling by night.
- Tadla. This rare name means branches.
- Umaler. Star of the peace. 🌟
And finally, here are some names that have special significance in our American corner of the African diaspora:
African American girl names
- Aaliyah. Exalted. Lofty.
- Angel. Fly high.
- Aniyah. Caring. Affectionate. 💕
- Ava. From Latin meaning bird. And a tribute to Ava DuVernay. 🎬
- Breonna. 💔 Noble one.
- Chantelle. From French, meaning candle. 🕯
- Ebony. A deep black wood.
- Gabrielle, like the angel. It means God is my strength.
- Gayle. Father’s joy. And if you happen to love a certain TV personality.
- Keisha. Great joy!
- Kiara. A global name meaning light.
- Makeba. A tribute to the inimitable South African singing sensation, Miram Makeba.
- Nevaeh. “Heaven” spelled backwards.
- Nia. Purpose. ➤
- Rihanna. What’s a badass name for a girl? Look no further than this name, meaning Goddess or Great Queen.
- Shanice. God is gracious.
- Toni. Means priceless one. And if you love the author, this one is for your Beloved. 📘
- Yolanda. Violet flower. 💜
- Zari. Golden. ⭐
Uhambe kakuhle, mama.
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