Africa is a beautiful place that has a fantastic mix of cultures and languages. So there is no surprise that their baby names are as fantastic.
We have put together some of the most popular and cute African baby names. But we have also included some of the names that are associated with some iconic black women.
In this article
Popular African Girl Names
Adah – Hebrew in origin and it means ‘beautiful ornament.’ According to the old testament, the wives of Lamech and Esau were named Adah.
Amena – A name of Arabic origin and it means ‘trustworthy and honest.’
Audre – English in origin and it means ‘noble strength.’
Ayah – Of Arabic origin and it means ‘miracle, sign, or evidence.’
Ayana – This name has its origin in America and it means ‘color and design.’
Dalia – A name of Hebrew origin and it means ‘a branch or bough.’
Fatima – Of Arabic origin and it means ‘daughter of the prophet.’
Halima – An Arabic name that means ‘patient or generous.’
Imene – Of unknown origin and it means ‘faith.’
Layla – A name of Arabic origin and it means ‘night or black.’
Muna – Meaning ‘desire’ or ‘wishes’ and of Arabic origin.
Nyah – The name means reed or pipe and is of Arabic origin. Variations include Naiya.
Nyaring – This name has its origin in Dinka and it means ‘running.’
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Rania – A name of Arabic origin and it means ‘to gaze.’
Shannel – Its origins are not clear but the name means ‘pipe.’
Shantelle – This name has an interesting meaning ‘of stony.’
Tamara – A name of Russian origin and it means ‘palm tree.’
Yasmine – Of Arabic origin and it means ‘jasmine flower.’
Zahra – Arabic in origin and it means ‘bright or blossom.’ There are variations of the spelling such as Zahraa.
Za’Niyah – Of Aztec origin and it means ‘forever or always.’ It is a form of the name Zyanya.
Zendaya – A name of African origin and it means ‘to give thanks.’ The name comes from the Shona language of Zimbabwe.
Beautiful Names For Black Girls
Abeba – Amharic in origin and it means ‘flower.’
Adana – A name of African origin and it means ‘her father’s daughter’ in Swahili.
Alheri – Of Hausa origin and it means ‘grace.’
Amahle – A name of Zulu origin and it means ‘the beautiful ones.’
Amari – Of Arabic roots meaning ‘moon.’ It also means possesses great strength.
Anuli – Igbo in origin and it means ‘joy.’
Bahati – This is a rare name meaning lucky or fortunate in Swahili.
Bisa – A name of African origin and it means ‘greatly loved.’
Buhle – A name of Ndebele origin and it means ‘beautiful.’
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Chiamazk – Of Igbo origin and it means ‘God is beautiful.’
Chikondi – Chewa in origin and it means ‘love.’
Eshe – In Swahili, this name means ‘life and energy.’
Hasina – African origin and it means good in Swahili.
Jamila – An African girl’s name meaning ‘beautiful.’
Jina – This African name sounds exactly like the Italian name Gina but means named child in Swahili.
Kali – This name has both African and Greek origins. It means energetic from its African roots and rosebud from its Greek roots.
Konjit – A name of Amharic origin and it means ‘beautiful.’
Latrice – A name of Tanzanian origin and it means ‘noble woman.’
Machelle – This name has mixed roots of African and Hebrew. It means ‘who resembles God.’
Malika – A name of African origin and it means queen.’
Makena – This is a well-known name used around the world, but its African meaning is happy one.
Mbalenhle – Zulu in origin and it means ‘beautiful flower.’
Minenhle – A name of Zulu origin and it means ‘a beautiful day.’
Monifa – Yoruba in origin and it means ‘I am lucky.’
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Nala – Made famous by The Lion King and is a popular African name. Nala means ‘first drink of water’ or ‘drinking water in the desert.’
Neema – This is a Swahili name meaning ‘born in prosperity.’
Sarama – This is an African baby name that means ‘nice.’
Tamala – A unique African name that means ‘dark tree.’
Tayla – It translates to she has been seen and it’s of African origin.
Thando – A name of Zulu origin and it means ‘to love.’
Thema – Of Akan origin and it means ‘queen.’
Yewubdar – Amharic in origin and it means ‘beyond beauty limits.’
Zina – This name represents a child’s secret spiritual name, making it full of mystery.
Zuri – A name of Swahili origin and it means ‘beautiful.’
Powerful Names of Iconic Black Women
Strong names for black baby girls often come from the powerful women who have gone before them. From activists to actresses, there really is no shortage of iconic black women to inspire your name choice.
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Allyson – Allyson Felix is an athlete, track, and field star. In 2019, she broke Usain Bolt’s record for the most gold medals won at the world championship-winning 13.
Araminta – This is the given name of Harriet Tubman. She was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, she escaped and subsequently made 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people.
Gabrielle – Gabrielle Union is an actress and activist. Gabrielle has been on both the big and small screens since the 90s. In recent years she has become very open about everything from fertility struggles to gender equality. Her outspoken voice has made her an ally for underrepresented groups.
Gayle – Gayle King is a journalist and news anchor. Gayle has three Emmys and after her interview with R.Kelly, she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential people in 2019.
Issa – Issa Rae is an actress, writer, and producer. After gathering attention for her YouTube series Awkward Black Girl, she earned acclaim for her HBO comedy series Insecure.
Jada – Jada Pinkett Smith is an actress, singer, and talk show host. She has been in the spotlight since the 90s, she gained new momentum in 2018 with the premiere of her hit Facebook Watch talk show Red Table Talk.
Janet – Janet Mock is a famous writer, producer, and transgender rights activist. She will be awarded the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards.
Kamala – Sen. Kamala Harris is a famous American politician. She has earned her place as a prominent voice of the Democratic party even though the senator had to drop out of the 2020 presidential race.
Meghan – Meghan Markle is a former actress and Duchess of Sussex. Even though both she and her husband Prince Harry have decided to step back as senior royals, the former actress has established herself as an advocate for a variety of causes including climate control and gender equality.
Michelle – Michelle Obama is an author, lawyer, and the first black FLOTUS of the United States. Her best-selling memoir in 2018 called Becoming Mrs. Obama captivated people with her warmth, strength, and positivity.
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Regina – Regina King is both an actress and director. King has a career that has spanned decades, with three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a supporting actress Oscar for her role in If Beale Sreet Could Talk.
Rihanna – Rhianna is a singer, designer, and businesswoman. In 2019 she officially became the world’s richest female musician. She is valued at an eye-watering $600 million and much of this fortune is due to her successful brand Fenty Beauty.
Ruth – Ruth E. Carter is a costume designer. Carter’s costume design can be traced back to 1988’s School Daze, in 2019 she became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Costume Design for her work on Marvel’s Black Panther.
Tamaron – Tamaron Hall is a broadcast journalist and talk show host. She had a sudden departure from the Today Show in 2017, Hall came back and now hosts his own talk show.
Taraji – Taraji P. Henson is an actress. She is an Oscar nominee for her role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008.
Tarana – Tarana Burke is an activist. After Harvey Weinstein was revealed as a serial sexual abuser in 2017, Burke’s activist group “Me Too” became #MeToo. The hashtag has become a movement in its own right. It is a way for those in the social media age to stand together with their shared experiences of sexual assault.
Tiffany – Tiffany Haddish is a comedian and actress. She had her breakout role in 2017’s Girl’s Trip and has become a firm favorite ever since, even starring on the big screen. She is also a New York Times bestselling author and signed a deal with Netflix in 2018.
Viola – Viola Davis is an actress and producer. In 2015, she made history by becoming the first African American woman to win an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her work in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder. She is also an Academy Award winner.
Cute African Girl Names
Ada – A name of German origin and means noble and happy. It also means ‘first daughter.’ This was originally a diminutive of the names that begin with Ade – like Adelaide.
Adelaide – A German origin name meaning ‘nobility.’ Adelaide was the name of the German princess who married the British King William IV in 1830, she was known as the Good Queen Adelaide.
Aurelia – From Latin origin and it means ‘golden.’ It was derived from the name Aurelius.
Amber – An name of Arabic origin and it refers to the jewel. It is a common name in both African and Arabic countries. The amber jewel is a warm honey shade.
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Bolanle – This is one of the most sought after traditional African girl names. It means ‘the one who finds wealth at home’ and has a rather eccentric pronunciation that is believed to attract wealth naturally.
Bethanie – A name of Hebrew origin and it means a place near Jerusalem where Jesus visited Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Delilah – A Hebrew baby name and it means ‘amorous or delightful.’
Eshe – This was the first common name amongst Swahili speaking people. It means ‘life and energy.’
Fajah – An African name that means ‘thanks.’
Fayola – One of the cutest African names and is perfect for your little girl. It means ‘one who walks with honor.’
Isis – A name of Egyptian origin and is a name derived from the goddess Isis of the Egyptian pantheon.
Jacenta – A name of Greek origin and is another name for the Hyacinth, a deep purple colored flower.
Jendayi – This is a Zimbabwe origin name and it means ‘grateful and thankful.’
Jovita – A name of Latin origin and it means ‘happy.’ Other variants of this name are Jasmine, Jalena, and Jacinta.
Kalifa – Perfect for those parents looking for a spiritual name. It is a name of African and Arabic origin and it means ‘holy and chaste.’
Keandra – A name of Gaelic origin and it means ‘keen power.’
Kadeesha – A unique name that means ‘one with an expressive, outgoing nature.’
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Leal – This is an African origin name that means ‘faithful.’
Lulu – An African baby name meaning ‘pearl.’
Lysha – A name of Hebrew origin and it means ‘a happy and delightful person.’
Makeba – A rare and unique name with Ethiopian origin and it means ‘greatness.’
Mandisa – A name of African origin and it means ‘sweetness.’
Nakeisha – An unconventional name of African origin and it means ‘her life.’
Nzinga – This name originated from the Central African continent. It is believed to have several different meanings but the one that suits it best is the meaning ‘beautiful.’
Oba – A purely African origin name and it means ‘river goddess.’
Phylicia – A Latin origin name that means ‘lucky.’
Quiesha – Another unique African name that means ‘favorite.’
Ramla – The true origin of this name is still unknown. It is claimed to be both Egyptian and African in origin and it means ‘prophetess.’
Sakina – A Muslim baby name which means ‘tranquil and devout.’
Shaniece – A name of African origin and it means ‘gift of God.’
Shaquana – A rather unique name that means ‘the truth in life.’
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Taisha – A name of Arabic origin that means ‘alive and well.’
Taleisha – This is a name of Jamaican origin that means ‘blooming life.’
Ursula – Another name of Latin origin meaning ‘little bear.’
Winnie – This means ‘holy peacemaking’ or ‘gentle friend.’
Zora – This is a name of Serbo-Croatian origin and it means ‘dawn.’
The Final Thought
Choosing a name for your daughter is a great opportunity to explore your heritage and even if you do not have African heritage you can still explore the wonderful array of names that originated from there.