100 African Names for Boys

Updated
Looking for an African boy name, rich in meaning and heritage? You’re at the right place.

Africa is a majestic and beautiful place –

And the African boy names are no exception!

If you’re looking for a black boy’s name, with strong African roots, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a detailed list of a wide range of names for you to choose from.

From African, Arabic and African-American boy names, it’s all here…

So let’s take a look, and help you find the perfect name for your precious bundle of joy.


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100 Strong African Names for Boys

Let’s take a look at our detailed list of African boy names, and carefully unpack all you need to know about each name.

Abdullah

Abdullah is a strong name for parents who want their son to be a devoted follower of God. While it can be heard across the world, it is a name that continues to grow in popularity today.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Servant of God
  • Pronunciation: ab-dul-ah
  • Variations: Abdoullah, Abdullaha, Abdul Aziz
  • Namesakes: Abdullah II of Jordan is the current King of Jordan and the name of the Prophet Muhammed’s father.
  • Popularity: One of the most popular names for a baby boy in the Islamic world. In 2020 it ranked at 808 in the US.
Common, Popular

Ajani

This is the name for a fighter and someone who takes things in his stride. The name originates from Nigeria.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: He who wins the struggle, the victor
  • Variations: Hajani, Ajanni
  • Namesakes: Ajani Huff is a popular TikTok star, known for his trendy choreography and comedy videos.
  • Popularity: Ajani has fluctuated in popularity over the years and is now growing in popularity again.
Classic, Unique

Amiri

A beautiful and majestic name for a baby boy, strong in African royalty and heritage. If you’re looking for a catchy and rare name for you boy, this might be a good fit!

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Prince, treetop
  • Variations: Hamiri, Ajmiri, Gamiri
  • Popularity: Amiri has sky-rocketed in popularity. Between 2018 and 2021 it jumped from 10 to 170 per 1 million babies.
Modern

Ayomide

Ayomide is derived from the West African name Yorùbá, which can be separated into two sections, “ayo” meaning joy or happiness and “de” meaning to reach or arrive- so “my joy has arrived.” Such a cute and affectionate African boy name.

  • Origin: African, West African
  • Meaning: Happiness is coming
  • Pronunciation: ah-yaw-MEE-deh
  • Variations: Ayomidé, Ayomidde
Modern

Babajide

Babijide is a common name given in Nigeria and is sometimes used as a surname. This is a beautiful black male name, offering both warmth and strength.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Father is coming home
  • Pronunciation: bah-bah-JEED-eh
  • Variations: Babadjide
  • Namesakes: Babajide Ogunbiyi is an American professional soccer player.
Unique

Bahadur

Bahadur is known for its popularity among muslim people, and is more common in Afganistan and Iran, however it is used across African countries. An ideal name for a boy who has a strong warrior instinct within him.

  • Origin: Arabic, Persian
  • Meaning: Fighter, hero, warrior
  • Pronunciation: bah-HAH-door
  • Variations: Bahadhur, Bahaddur
  • Namesakes: Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, who was the last ruler over the Mughal Empire in Persia.
Classic

Betserai

Betserai is a beautiful Zimbabwean name given to a baby boy. A very rare name that you can safely know very few people have used before. Perhaps that hidden gem, just waiting to be found!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: help, rescue
  • Pronunciation: bet-seh-RAH-ee
  • Variations: Betserayi, Betsera
Unique

Bokamoso

Bokamoso comes from the Setswana language, spoken by African people in a particular region. A stunning male name often shortened to BK or Kamo.

  • Origin: South Africa
  • Meaning: The future
  • Pronunciation: bo-ka-mo-so
  • Variations: Bokamosho, Boikamoso
  • Popularity: This is a very unique name to Africa and was recorded in the top 10 most popular unisex names in South Africa.
Unique

Chenzira

Chenzira is rarely heard today in the US. This name is used primarily in Shona to describe a baby boy that was born on the road, or on the way to hospital. The meaning could also describe a more figurative journey of discovery.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Born on a journey
  • Pronunciation: chen-see-rah
  • Variations: Cenzira, Chonzira, Chenjira
Unique

Chikae

Chikae is a versatile and unique name as it’s used in Japanese countries for naming girls, meaning “a thousand smells and clothes.” It is also used to name cute baby boys in Western Africa.

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: God’s power or strength
  • Pronunciation: Che-kay
  • Variations: Chikaye, Chikaeh
  • Popularity: Chikae grew in popularity up until 2015 and from then onwards there are no rankings available.
Unique
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Chionesu

Chionesu is common among Zimbabwean people. It is often given to a boy whose parents desire for him to grow up with a strong sense of responsibility and integrity.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Protector, guiding light
  • Pronunciation: cheh-neh-soo
  • Variations: Chinesu, Chinnesu
  • Popularity: Very popular among Christians and in African countries today. Not popular in the US.
Unique

Clevon

A strong black name for an adventurous boy who has a lot to offer this world. Clevon was first used in Old-English to describe people who lived in a very hilly region in North Yorkshire, England.

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: Land of cliffs, hilly area
  • Variations: Cleavon, Cleivon
  • Namesakes: Cleavon Jake Little, an American film actor known for his unforgettable performance in the Mel Brooks comedy film, Blazing Saddles. Clevon Brown, an American rising star in basketball.
  • Popularity: Clevon was very popular in the early 1900s and has become less popular over the years.
Modern, Trendy

Dakarai

A stylish boy name used by the Shona people of Southern Africa, usually describing someone with charisma and a strong sense of confidence about him. You can shorten the name to Daka, Kai, or Rai.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Happiness, rejoice
  • Pronunciation: Dah-kar-eye
  • Variations: Dakarayi, Dakharai, Dakari
  • Popularity: Dakarai has increased in popularity over the years, peaking at 25 per 1 million boys in 2018.
Unusual

Davu

Davu is a strong, black male name, often describing someone who is reliable and diligent. The name originates from Somalian culture and is also used in India for naming boys. You could call it the African version of the name David.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: The beginning, good boy
  • Variations: David, Davut, Davud, Davou
Classic

Deiondre

If you’re on the hunt for a typical African-American boy name that sounds sophisticated and adventurous at the same time, this might be the ideal name. Deiondre is considered a very cool and badass name in American culture.

  • Origin: African-American
  • Meaning: Valley
  • Pronunciation: dee-on-drai
  • Variations: Deiondray, Deiondre’
  • Namesakes: Deiondre’ Clifton Hall is an American Football safety for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.
  • Popularity: Deiondre has decreased in popularity considerably over the years, from 33 to 4 babies per 1 million, between 1996 and 2016.
Unusual, Classic

Diallo

Diallo is commonly found in Western Africa, particularly in the Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso. An African boy name that carries a great deal of depth and character.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Bold
  • Pronunciation: di-al-lo
  • Variations: Diallou, Djiallo
  • Namesakes: Diallo Thompson is an aspiring actor and writer known for his feature film debut in Barbershop, The Cut in 2016.
  • Popularity: Diallo has decreased gradually in popularity from the early 2000s, reaching 4 babies per 1 million in 2018.
Modern

El-Amin

El-Amin offers a rich meaning and deep Arabic heritage. It is also a surname common in North African countries, particularly in Sudan and Nigeria. Who wouldn’t want to call their cute baby boy trustworthy and faithful?

  • Origin: Arabic, Muslim
  • Meaning: Trustworthy, honest, faithful
  • Variations: Amin, El-Amine, Elamin
  • Popularity: El-Amin was last recorded in 2014 as the 1,201,840th most common first name in the world.
Classic

Eman

Eman carries a strong attachment to faith and will lift anyone’s spirit when spoken. This will make a perfect name for parents who wish their boy to be rooted strong in his faith. The name is very common in Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Sudan and Eritrea.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Faith, belief
  • Variations: Iman, Eiman, Emán
  • Namesakes: Eman El-Asy is an Egyptian actress and Eman El Bahr Darwish is an Egyptian singer.
Common

Emene

Emene is a unique and rare African name usually found in Haiti, DR Congo and Nigeria. Little is known of its original roots, and you will likely only hear it being spoken in Africa. You could shorten it to a catchy sounding Em or Eme.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Don’t do harm, do not hurt
  • Pronunciation: eme-ne
  • Variations: Emenea, Emiene
  • Popularity: Emene is listed in 2014 as the 419,319th most common name in the world.
Unique

Enzokuhle

Enzokuhle sounds like a good tongue twister, however what a beautiful black baby name! The name originates from the indigenous Zulu and Xhosa speaking people of South Africa and is given to a boy who is destined for great things.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Do well, to do good, expected to do great things
  • Pronunciation: en-zo-kuh-le
  • Variations: Yenzokuhle, Enz’okuhle
  • Popularity: Enzokuhle was listed as the most popular boy name in South Africa in 2018.
Uncommon
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Fabunni

Fabunni is a beautiful, unique and strong baby boy name. Little is known about it. The name carries a deep meaning and a natural, African allure. It can also be considered another version of the English and Greek name, Thaddeus, meaning ‘gift of God.’

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: God has given me this, God’s gift
  • Variations: Fabuni, Fabumni
Unique

Farouk

Farouk is a powerful and extraordinary name for an African American boy and has been a forgotten name over recent years. African countries, such as Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan have a stronger connection to the name. A perfect name for a boy within a family who values honesty and truthfulness..

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Truth, discerning truth from falsehood
  • Pronunciation: fa-rouk
  • Variations: Faroukh, Farrouk, Farouck
  • Popularity: Farouk has shown a steady popularity trend over the years, then decreased rapidly in popularity from 7740 to 20507 in 2020.
Modern

Fenjang

This name is extremely rare and discovering it was like finding a needle in a haystack! A great deal of effort to find, but it sure makes it worthwhile when you discover the beauty of this name. Fenjang is even scarce in Africa and is mostly used in the Tswana language in Botswana. If you choose it, you can count on just about no one having your unique baby boy’s name.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Conqueror
  • Pronunciation: fen-yang
Unique

Fikre

An affectionate name for a black boy, with a strong feeling of compassion and genuineness. Fikre is a unique name that isn’t heard often, but can occur worldwide. The name has strong roots to the beautiful African plains of Ethiopia.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: My love
  • Variations: Fikire, Fikrie, Fikere, Fikree
Unusual

Gabir

Gabir is another form of the name Jabir, which means ‘consolation’ or ‘comfort’ and is heard slightly more today among Muslims. If you’re searching for a unique name with a special meaning, while still being true to your Arabic roots, then Gabir might be a great choice!

  • Origin: Arabic, Muslim
  • Meaning: Comforter
  • Pronunciation: ga-b-ir
  • Variations: Jabir, Gabr, Gabhir
Classic

Gahiji

Gahiji is a very uncommon name and is mostly heard in African countries, such as Egypt and Rwanda. A wonderful name for a family who cherish an adventurous spirit in the life of their new son.

  • Origin: African, Egypt
  • Meaning: The hunter, seeker
  • Pronunciation: gah-HEE-jee
  • Variations: Gaijie, Gaijei
  • Namesakes: A Rwandan Hutu boy, Gahiji, who tells his remarkable story through author H. Dwight Kelsey, in the book “Soul of Darkeness: A Tale of the Rwandan Genocide.”
Vintage

Galel

Galel occurs randomly throughout the world, however it is the most common in Senegal, Africa. The meaning offers a strong feeling of masculinity and a deep sense of faith.

  • Origin: Arabic, Hebrew
  • Meaning: Wave of God
  • Pronunciation: guh-lel
  • Variations: Galiel, Gallel, Galeel
Classic, Trendy

Gulzar

The African boy name Gulzar holds a rich history across a wide range of continents and cultures. In Persia, it carries the meaning of “rose garden,” while in the ancient Sanskrit language from South-Asia, it means “garden with flowers.” It is often used in India and Pakistan to name both genders.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: In bloom, flourishing
  • Variations: Gülzar, Gulzaar, Ghulzar
  • Namesakes: Gulzaar Chhaniwala, an Indian singer and music producer.
Classic

Haben

Haben has strong roots in African culture, particularly from countries such as Eritrea and Ethiopia. It can be used to name both girls and boys who are proud of their African heritage.

  • Origin: African, African-American
  • Meaning: Pride
  • Pronunciation: hah-ben
  • Variations: Haiben, Chaben, Khaben
  • Namesakes: Haben Girma, an American disability rights advocate, who was the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School.
  • Popularity: Haben increased in popularity, jumping from 14 192 to 10 967 in ranking between 2016 and 2019.
Modern

Hamidi

Hamidi originates from both African and Arabic people. It is widely given to baby boys across Africa, especially in Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Morocco. A special name for a boy who has a strong leadership instinct within him.

  • Origin: Africa
  • Meaning: Praised, admired, commendable
  • Pronunciation: hah-ME-dee
  • Variations: Hhamidi, Hamidie, Hasmidi, Hamidui
Classic
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Hirsi

Hirsi is an interesting African boy name that is native to the people of Somalia and Ethiopia. The name is also used to name young African girls. Maybe your new baby will grow up and do as the name Hirsi suggests – warding off evil and offering his protection to all who come near.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Amulet
  • Variations: Hirshi, Khirsi, Hirsie
  • Namesakes: Ayaan Hirsi Magan, a Dutch-American-Somali activist, author, scholar and former politician.
Popular

Hodari

A beautiful and hearty African American boy name, mainly spoken in the DR Congo. The name Hodari is usually given by parents who value true strength and stamina in the life of their new son. It originates from the Swahili language.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Strong, Powerful
  • Variations: Hodairi, Hodaeri, Khodari, Chodari
  • Popularity: Hodari has been steadily popular over the years.
Unique

Iggi

Iggi can be heard across the world and in a wide range of cultures. In ancient times, Iggi or Iggy is believed to be the shortened versions of the Roman Latin names, Ignatia and Ignatius. In Africa, the name Iggi is commonly spoken in Eritrea. What a stunning name that speaks of deep love and affection.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Only son
  • Variations: Iggie, Inggi
Unique

Imad

Imad has remained a very common baby boy name in Northern Africa. While it has decreased in popularity over recent years, it sure remains hot on people’s lips across the world. A wonderful name for a boy destined to provide support and stability to those around him.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: Support, pillar, mainstay, confidence
  • Variations: Imád, Immad, Imaad, Ihmad, Eimad
  • Popularity: Iman has become less popular moving from a high of 8238 down to 16 102 in 2021.
Modern, Popular

Irem

You will usually hear this African boy name spoken in Nigeria and then on the odd occasion in Asia. It is also the name given to baby girls in Turkey, where it means a “Garden of Heaven.”

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Precious tree
  • Variations: Irém, Ireme, Hirem, Ierem, Jirem
  • Namesakes: Irem Sak, a Turkish actress.
  • Popularity: Irem surged in popularity between 2018 to 2020, moving from 20458 to 3818 in ranking.
Classic

Irshad

The name Irshad occurs in Kenya and Somalia, however it is most common in Saudia Arabia. An exotic African name, perfect within a family that treasures wisdom and understanding.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: Direction, guiding light
  • Variations: Irshaad, Irshadh, Irshaid
  • Popularity: Irshad has fluctuated in popularity over the years and could be considered a somewhat popular name..
Popular

Jabulani

Jabulani is a very common black male name in Southern Africa. The name originates from the Zulu speaking people in South Africa. A beautiful and unique name for a boy who is likely to bring joy and happiness into your life.

  • Origin: African, South Africa
  • Meaning: Rejoice
  • Pronunciation: jah-bu-lah-nee
  • Variations: Jabulanis, Jabuilani, Jabulanii
  • Namesakes: Jabulani Khanyile, who was a South African Jazz singer, and the lead singer from the band Bayete.
  • Popularity: Between 2015 and 2020, Jabulani became a much more popular name.
Common, Popular

Jango

A true, African name for a brave young boy. Many African tribes have tried to lay claim to the name Jango. However it is widely known that Jango originates from the Xhosa-speaking people of South Africa. A rare name, rich in African charm.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Brave warrior
  • Variations: Janggo, Jangoo, Jangho, Jhango
Classic

Jayden

Jayden has been popularized through many celebrities, such as Will Smith, Jada Pinkett, Andre Agassi and Britney Spears. It also means different things depending on the origin. In English it means “God has heard,” while in Hebrew it means “thankful” or “God will judge.”

  • Origin: African-American, Hebrew
  • Meaning: God has heard, Thankful, God will judge
  • Variations: Jaden, Jaiden, Jaylen
  • Namesakes: Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, who made his film debut with his father in the 2006 film, The Pursuit of Happiness.
  • Popularity: Jayden was at the top of its popularity between 2003 and 2013, hitting the top 5. In 2020 it was slightly less popular, but still extremely high on baby name charts.
Popular

Jelani

Jelani originates from Swahili and is a favourite African-American boy’s name. It is a popular name in Afro-Arabic countries, particularly in Northern-Nigeria. A strong name that perfectly captures a firm sense of leadership and independence.

  • Origin: African, African-American
  • Meaning: Full of strength, mighty
  • Pronunciation: jeh-LAHN-ee
  • Variations: Jeláni, Jeelani, Jeylani
  • Namesakes: Jelani Cobb, an American author, writer and educator. Jelani Mccoy, an American former professional basketball player.
  • Popularity: Jelani has shifted considerably in popularity over the years. It is slightly less popular now ranking at 2957 in 2020, however it still remains a common name.
Modern
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Kahlil

What a beautiful black male name for parents who highly value friendship and companionship. Kahlil is a popular name across the world and when looking at Africa, it is more commonly heard in Egypt.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Close friend
  • Pronunciation: kah-LEEL
  • Variations: Kahalil, Kahlill, Khahlil, Kahliel
  • Namesakes: Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet and philosopher, who wrote one of the world’s bestselling books of all time, “The Prophet.” Kahlil Hill, a professional American and Canadian football wide receiver.
  • Popularity: Kahlil is on the rise in popularity again, reaching a rank of 3112 in 2020.
Modern

Kai

Kai has various meanings across different cultures. In America, the name is believed to be of Latin, Hawiaan origin, meaning “from the sea.” In Europe, the name is of Welsh origin, meaning “keeper of the keys,” and according to the Finnish it means “rejoice.” The African version of Kai is mainly used in South Sudan and Sierra Leone. A stunning and versatile name depending on your preference!

  • Origin: African, Persian
  • Meaning: King
  • Pronunciation: kye
  • Variations: Kaï, Kaî, Khai, Kaia, Kye
  • Namesakes: Kai Havertz, a German professional soccer player. Kai Lenny, a famous Hawiian big wave surfer.
  • Popularity: Kai is popular worldwide, coming in at a hot 140 in 2020.
Modern

Kibo

Kibo carries a strong and majestic feel, especially as it refers to the highest volcanic cone, Kibo, on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. A boy with this name is probably destined for greatness and wide influence.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: From the highest mountain peak
  • Pronunciation: KAY-bo
  • Variations: Keabo, Keebo, Keibo, Keybo, Kiebo, Kibou
Classic

Kofi

Kofi originates from Ghana and is also a prominent name in Chad and Nigeria. If your baby boy happens to be born on a Friday, then the name might be an ideal fit for you! The name is also trendy and sounds very catchy.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Male child born on a Friday
  • Pronunciation: KOH-fee
  • Variations: Koffi, Kofie, Khofi. Kofii
  • Namesakes: Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the UN and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. Kofi Kingston, an American-Ghanian professional wrestler.
  • Popularity: After fluctuating in popularity, Kofi reached a rating of 6783 in 2020.
Modern

Lateef

The name Lateef has decreased in popularity over the years, however you will likely hear it across the world. It has a strong Arabic tone, and is ideal for parents who desire their son to have a gentle spirit and a kind heart.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Gentle, kind
  • Pronunciation: lah-teef
  • Variations: Latteef, Latheef
  • Namesakes: Lateef Crowder, a Brazilian-American actor, stuntman, and martial artist.
Modern

Lethabo

Lethabo is native to the Sepedi and Sesotho languages. Sesotho is spoken in the Kingdom of Lesotho, while Sepedi comes from the northernmost parts of South Africa. Another male version of the name is Thabo, which holds the same meaning.

  • Origin: African, South Africa
  • Meaning: Happiness, joy
  • Pronunciation: le-TAH-boh
  • Variations: Letabo, Leethabo, Lithabo
  • Namesakes: Lethabo Mathatho, a South African actress, MC and TV personality.
  • Popularity: Lethabo is one of the most popular traditional unisex names in South Africa.
Unique

Luam

Luam is a cool African boy name that offers an exquisite meaning. It isn’t so common in Africa anymore, and is more frequently used in parts of Asia. A unique name with a feeling of sophistication and tranquility.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Peaceful, calm
  • Variations: Luame, Lhuam, Liuam
  • Popularity: Between 2017 and 2020, Luam grew in popularity, from 18188 to 7598.
Classic

Luthando

An affectionate name commonly spoken in South Africa, and also used in Zimbabwe and Botswana. It could easily be shortened to Thando. If you’re searching for a name that captures your deep love for your new addition to the family, this might be a winner!

  • Origin: African, South Africa
  • Meaning: Love
  • Pronunciation: loo-tan-doh
  • Variations: Luithando, Lutando, Luthando
  • Popularity: Luthando has shown a rise in popularity over the years, reaching 7598 in 2021.
Unique

Makenna

Makenna is a magical name of wide origin and meaning. In America the name is Hawaiian, meaning “many gathered.” In Ireland, it is associated with a place name, known as Mackenna, while in Gaelic it means “fire born.” It sure is a popular name that captures the breadth and diversity of many cultures.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: Happy one, happiness
  • Pronunciation: mah-KEN-nah
  • Variations: Mackenna, Maykenna
  • Popularity: Makenna has fluctuated in popularity over time, however in 2021 it ranked at a high of 7598.
Classic

Mamello

The name hails from the majestic and small Kingdom of Lesotho in Southern Africa. Mamello is a Sotho name given to both girl and boy babies and is prominent in South Africa and Botswana. It is often shortened to Mello.

  • Origin: African, Lesotho
  • Meaning: Patience
  • Pronunciation: mah-mel-loh
  • Variations: Mamaello, Mmamello, ‘Mamello
  • Popularity: Mamello jumped in popularity from 2019 to 2020, going from 15962 to 10966.
Unique
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Menkam

If you’re looking for an African treasure in a name, Menkam could tick all the boxes! The name originates from the Bamileke tribe, who speak the same language – which is one of 300 different languages spoken in Cameroon. Certainly a very rare name for a precious baby boy.

  • Origin: African, Cameroon
  • Meaning: Noble child
  • Variations: Minkam, Maengkam, Mingkam
Unusual, Unique

Mpho

This is a trendy name for parent’s who delight in the beautiful gift of life about to enter their lives. Mpho is most commonly used to name boys in Botswana and South Africa.

  • Origin: African, South Africa
  • Meaning: Heavenly gift
  • Pronunciation: mm-poh
  • Variations: Mphou, Mmpho, Mphó
  • Namesakes: Mpho Sebina, a musical artist from Botswana.
  • Popularity: Mpho has fluctuated in popularity and from being less popular, it is now on the rise again, reaching 5346 in 2020.
Classic

Nabhan

If you’re searching for an Arabic boy name that grabs your attention and stands out, Nabhan might be a keeper for you! A special name for parents who value wisdom and integrity in the life of their new son.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: Noble, Outstanding
  • Pronunciation: nah-bahn
  • Variations: Nabahan, Nabhane
  • Popularity: Nabhan has remained steady in popularity over the years and in 2019 it decreased in ranking to 4 per 1 million babies.
Classic

Nabulung

Nabulung is a very rare and unique African boy name. Very little is known about the name, which adds to its charm and mystery. It is believed to originate from the Bagunda Kingdom in Uganda, the largest of the traditional kingdoms remaining in East-Africa today.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Handsome
  • Pronunciation: nah-buh-lung
Unusual

Nailah

Nailah is the rising star of African names and is more common in Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria. The name has a warm feeling to it and brings the breathtaking and wild plains of Africa to mind.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: Successful
  • Pronunciation: nai-LAH
  • Variations: Naillah, Naailah, Naielah
  • Namesakes: Nailah Blackman, a Trinididian singer and songwriter.
  • Popularity: Nailah has sky-rocketed in popularity, going from 20459 in 2018 to 4495 in 2019.
Modern

Nkanga

Nkanga offers a glimmer into the richness and uniqueness of African culture. The name originates from the Bemba tribe, of the Bantu-speaking people. These people mainly reside on the northeastern plateau of Zambia. In modern times, the Bemba also reside in certain parts of Zimbabwe and the Congo. Certainly not a name you’ll hear often!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Guinea fowl
  • Pronunciation: n-khang-gah
  • Variations: Nkangha, Nkangaa, Nkganga
Unique

Obiajulu

Obiajulu comes from Nigeria and is a very unique African name. Some parents from Western Africa go for the shortened version of Obi, meaning “heart.” What a wonderful meaning to show how your son has captured your heart.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: The heart is consoled
  • Pronunciation: oh-biah-julu
  • Variations: Obieajulu, Obiajlu, Obiojulu
  • Namesakes: Obiajulu Ejiofor, mother of famous British-Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Unusual

Olumide

Olumide is a special African boy name mainly heard in Nigeria and Ghana. This name is ideal for parents who want their boy to hold onto his faith and to always see the bright side of life.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: My God arrives, God comes
  • Pronunciation: oh-lu-mi-de
  • Variations: Oloumide, Olumidé, Oluymide
  • Namesakes: Olumide Oworu, a Nigerian actor, model and rapper.
  • Popularity: Olumide displayed a dramatic decline in popularity in the late 2000s, from 8580 to 20158 in 2020.
Unique, Unusual

Omari

Omari is a popular Arabic and African name throughout the world. In Egyptian culture, Omari means “first born,” while in Arabic, it is derived from the word “Umar,” meaning “to flourish or prosper.” Tanzania, Kenya and the DR Congo have the highest concentration of baby boys with this name.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: God the highest
  • Pronunciation: oh-MAR-ee
  • Variations: Ömari, Omaris, Omarie
  • Namesakes: Omari Hardwick, an American actor, rapper, poet and producer.
  • Popularity: Omari has shown a steady and steep increase in popularity, reaching the top 1000 at 988 in 2020.
Modern, Popular

Oringo

Oringo originates from the Yoruba language of Nigeria. This is a strong, masculine, African boy name, perfect for someone who is always up for a big adventure.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: He who likes the hunt
  • Pronunciation: oh-rin-go
  • Variations: Oraingo, Oriengo, Horingo
Unique
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Parsa

Parsa has its roots in Persian culture, and is a common name for boys in India, Pakistan and Iran. The name has been introduced into North-African families and is the most common in Egypt. A beautiful male name for a family who desire to see their son living in purity and faithfulness.

  • Origin: Persian
  • Meaning: Pure, devout, holy
  • Variations: Parsia, Parsah, Parsha
  • Popularity: Parsa has remained a steady favorite over the years, ranking at 3607 in 2021.
Classic

Paulo

Paulo is a classic and well-loved name for boys across the world. In Europe, the name originates from the Portugese, derived from the Latin word “paullus,” for little or short. The Portugese speaking people of Angola and Mozambique have also adopted the name and developed their own meaning.

  • Origin: African, European
  • Meaning: Place of rest
  • Pronunciation: POW-lo
  • Variations: Pàulo, Paulos, Paullo, Paul
  • Namesakes: Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian author, best known for his book “The Alchemist.” Paulo Fonseca, a Portugese former professional soccer player.
  • Popularity: Paulo has fluctuated in popularity considerably over time but is a name you can commonly hear around the world.
Classic

Penha

Penha is an unusual African boy name stemming from the Swahili-speaking people in Eastern-Africa. Perhaps an ideal name that conveys your deep love and compassion for your new little bundle.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Variations: Peinha, Penhah
  • Popularity: Penha is a pretty uncommon name.
Unique

Phomello

Phomello has a wide range of variations and uses across Africa. In South Africa it refers to someone who is “on top” or successful in life. You could easily shorten it to “Pho” or “Mello.”

  • Origin: African, South Africa
  • Meaning: Succeed, Successful man
  • Pronunciation: pho-mel-lo
  • Variations: Pomella, Phumello, Phemello
Unique, Unusual

Qaiser

Qaiser has strong Arabic roots and is popular in Pakistan and Saudia Arabia. You will also hear it in other Arabic cultures in Northern Africa. A special Muslim boy name, with an aura of nobility and integrity.

  • Origin: Arabic, African
  • Meaning: King
  • Pronunciation: kwai-zer
  • Variations: Qaiserh, Quaiser
  • Popularity: Qaiser decreased a little bit in popularity from a ranking of 6565 to 7678 between 2020 and 2021.
Classic

Qani

Qani is an extraordinary name used to name young Muslim boys. You will likely only hear it spoken in Somaliland and Somalia. Other Arabic countries such as Albania, Kosovo and Azerbaijan are also known to use Qani.

  • Origin: Arabic, African
  • Meaning: Content, satisfied
  • Pronunciation: kwa-nee
  • Variations: Qanie, Qaani, Qaini
Unique

Quaashie

Quaashie is a very rare name native to Egypt. The name has an exotic feel to it and reminds you of the golden sunsets and hot, sandy plains of Northern Africa. A descriptive name if your little treasure is born on a Sunday!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Born on Sunday
  • Pronunciation: KWAH-shee
  • Variations: Quashie, Quasie
Unusual

Quintisha

This strong black boy’s name originates from Botswana in Southern Africa. It is frequently used as an African-American name for girls, however, in Africa it is usually given to boys. Perhaps a forgotten African boy name that may win our affections again.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Black and proud
  • Pronunciation: kwin-tee-shah
  • Variations: Quintesha, Quentisha
  • Popularity: Quintisha was last recorded in 1997 at 14937, and then disappeared off the ratings. It is a very unique name.
Unique

Rafiki

This special name captures the uniqueness of African languages, as Rafiki is only heard in Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. If you’re looking for an unusual name, this could be a great choice. It might also bring out your inner child as you sing to some of your favorite Lion King tunes!

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: Companion, friend
  • Pronunciation: rah-FEE-kee
  • Variations: Rafiky, Rafikey, Rafikee, Raficki, Raffiki
  • Namesakes: Rafiki, the fictional character of the Baboon in Disney’s 1994 film, The Lion King.
Classic

Rehema

Rehema can be used comfortably for both girls and boys, although in America the name is often used for girls. It carries many roots of origin, both in Swahili-speaking people and Egyptian culture. What a lovely name that speaks of someone with a strong, caring nature.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Compassion, forgiveness, mercy
  • Pronunciation: re-Hemah
  • Variations: Rehemah, Rehemaa
  • Namesakes: Rehema Ellis, an American television journalist and lead education correspondent.
Unique, Cool
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Rethabile

A name that captures the diversity and inner joy of African people. The name Rethabile comes from the pristine and rugged mountains of Lesotho. You will also hear it in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: We’re happy
  • Pronunciation: re-taa-bee-le
  • Variations: Reithabile, Retabile
  • Namesakes: Rethabile Khumalo, a South African singer, guitarist and dancer.
  • Popularity: Rethabile, rated a high of 4822 in 2021 making it not uncommon but not heard everywhere.
Unique, Unusual

Rutendo

Rutendo originates primarily from Zimbabwe and Malawi, and occurs in other parts of Southern Africa as well. An exceptional black name that you will only hear in these regions.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Believing
  • Pronunciation: roo-TEHN-daw
  • Variations: Ruthendo, Rutenda
Unusual

Sadiki

Sadiki is an unusual African American boy name but heard across Africa, originating from Swahili. It highlights personal, captivating traits that every parent would want to see in the life of their new son.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Loyal, faithful
  • Pronunciation: sah-DEE-kee
  • Variations: Saddiki, Shadiki
  • Popularity: Sadiki decreased steadily in popularity over the years and later displayed a remarkable recovery at 7678 in 2021.
Modern

Sakuwahu

A true hidden gem of African boy names! Sakuwahu is from the Lundu-speaking tribes of Zambia and Angola. Another word for the Lunda dialect is Chilunda and is mainly spoken in the northwestern province of Zambia. What a stunning, one-of-a-kind, name for a boy.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Handsome man
  • Pronunciation: sah-KU-wah-hu
Unique

Sharif

Sharif is a name that bestows great honour and respect in Muslim beliefs. The name originates from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammed. Over the centuries, the name has been attached to admired Muslim religious leaders and politicians.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Honoured, noble, high born, truthful
  • Pronunciation: sha-REEF
  • Variations: Shariff, Sharief, Sharrf, Sharife, Shareef
  • Namesakes: Sharif Atkins, an American actor best known for his role on ER and White Collar.
  • Popularity: Sharif declined rapidly in popularity but is now trending up again.
Modern

Siyabonga

Siyabonga is a well-loved African boy name, especially in parts of South Africa, Swaziland and Malawi. The name originates from Zulu-speaking people. Siya is the popular way to shorten the name.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: We are grateful, we thank you
  • Pronunciation: si-ya-bon-ga
  • Variations: Siyabhonga, Siyabongah, Siyabona
  • Namesakes: Siyabonga Nomvethe, a South African professional soccer player.
  • Popularity: This is a pretty rare name.
Unique

Tabari

Tabari is a common and treasured name of the Muslim faith, prevalent in most North-African countries. Young boys with this name are named after Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. He was a famous Muslim scholar and historian during the 9th Century.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Remember
  • Pronunciation: ta-bah-ree
  • Variations: Tabarri, Thabari, Tabariz
  • Popularity: Tabaris jumped in popularity from 14164 to 7678 between 2020 and 2021. This name is on the rise.
Classic

Tchianga

Tchianga is an unusual and charming African name originating from the Fe’fe’ language in Cameroon. This unique dialect is also known as Nufi or Bafang and comes from the town Bafang. A wonderful African American name for who is sure to be a smart and talented young boy.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Helper
  • Pronunciation: chi-aan-gah
  • Variations: Tshianga, Chianga
Unique

Thato

Thato is a very popular name in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. It was originally given to African boys and girls from the Tonga tribe. In other African languages the name means “God’s will” or “desire.”

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Love
  • Pronunciation: tah-toh
  • Variations: Thatho, Thaito, Thaato, Thatto
  • Namesakes: Thato Molamu, a South African television actor.
  • Popularity: Thato was very popular in 2019 at 2852, and then decreased in popularity to 4822 in 2021.
Popular, Common

Tumelo

Tumelo is a strong, masculine African boy name originating from the Subiya tribe. This tribe resides in northern Botswana, along the Caprivi Strip and in certain parts of Namibia and Zambia. Tumelo might be a good choice if you want to encourage a faith journey for your boy.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Faith
  • Pronunciation: too-MEH-law
  • Variations: Thumelo, Tummelo, Tumela
  • Namesakes: Tumelo Nhlapo, a South African professional soccer player. Tumelo Manyoni, a South African DJ and music producer known as JazziQ.
Unique, Classic
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Uchechi

A striking and delightful name for your beautiful boy! Uchechi comes from Nigeria, from the local tribe of Ibo. You’re unlikely to hear this unique and special name anywhere else any time soon!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: God’s will, God’s will be done
  • Pronunciation: oo-che-chi
  • Variations: Ucheachi, Uchechy, Uchechee, Uchi
Modern, Unusual

Umi

Umi is sometimes used for naming baby girls and boys. The name is commonly given to African boys from the Chewa tribe – a local tribe indigenous to Malawi. This catchy name sure sounds cute and trendy at the same time!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Life
  • Pronunciation: oo-mie
  • Variations: Ummi, Umid, Oumi
Modern

Unika

Unika might have a girlish feel to it, but it’s also used to name African boys. It originates from the Ngoni tribe, which is rooted in the Nguni and Zulu people of the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa. A name that shows how your new boy will steal your heart away for good!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Shining
  • Pronunciation: oo-ni-kah
  • Variations: Unikah, Eunika, Unnika
Unique

Usamah

Perhaps a perfect name for parents with deep Arabic roots. Usamah aptly portrays the royal and majestic feel of an African lion. It is a common boy name in Saudia Arabia and the Northern parts of Africa.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Like a lion
  • Pronunciation: u-Sah-Mah
  • Variations: Usaamah, Usaimah, Husamah
  • Namesakes: Muhammad Usamah Yasin, a well-known animator from Malaysia.
Modern

Vukosi

Vukosi stems from the Tsonga language of Mozambique, Eswatini (Swaziland), South Africa, and Zimbabwe. A bold, attractive black male name that brings the richness of African heritage to life.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Royalty
  • Pronunciation: vuu-koh-si
  • Variations: Vhukosi, Vikosi, Vukasi
Unique, Unusual

Vuyolwethu

What an appealing name for your new little treasure, sure to bring so much joy and contentment into your life! As a long name, Vuyolwethu is often shortened to Vuyo. This name is native to parts of Southern Africa.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Our happiness
  • Pronunciation: vuh-yol-we-tuh
  • Variations: Vuyolwetu, Voyolwethu, Vuyalwethu
  • Popularity: After a steady popularity rate, Vuyolwethu has started to increase in popularity in 2020.
Unusual

Wahbi

Wahbi is an Arabic name frequently heard in Nigeria, Morocco and Saudia Arabia. A delightful African boy name conveying the privilege and responsibility of caring for a brand new life in the world!

  • Origin: Arabic, African
  • Meaning: Gift
  • Pronunciation: waa-bee
  • Variations: Wahabi, Wabi
Unique

Wambua

A name bringing the peaceful and powerful sounds of Africa’s rainstorms to mind. Wambua is a unique boy name from the Kamba tribe of Kenya, comprising about 11% of the total population. Certainly a very special name in the world.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Born during the rainy season
  • Pronunciation: wahm-BOO-ah
  • Variations: Wombua, Wambwa, Wambwaa
Unique

Wole

Wole is a warm, friendly male name, native to the Yoruba tribe in Western Africa. You will come across this name particularly in Ethiopia and Nigeria. A name of reminiscence and fondness.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Has come to home
  • Pronunciation: woh-lay
  • Variations: Wolle, Wolé, Wolie
  • Namesakes: Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian-English playwright, poet and novelist – the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.
Classic

Wyshawne

Depending on your preference, this lovely boy name Wyshawne can either be spelt with or without the “e.” The African American name is a unique combination of the prefix Wy- and the name Shawne and usually only heard in the USA.

  • Origin: African American, English
  • Meaning: God is merciful
  • Pronunciation: wie-SHAWN
  • Variations: Wyshawn, Wayshawn
Unusual
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Xenres

Xenres originates from Persia and is known to occur in Arabic families in Northern Africa.This is a very unusual and beautiful name that captures the essence of African royalty and charm.

  • Origin: Arabic
  • Meaning: Prince
  • Pronunciation: zhen-reez
Classic

Xolani

Here’s a strong African name for your baby. Xolani is a very common boy and girl name in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Eswatini. It is used mainly by the Xhosa and Zulu-speaking people. Here is how to say the “Xo” section of the name correctly. It’s all about getting the Xhosa click right!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Please forgive, To be at peace
  • Variations: Xholani, Xolanie, Xollani
  • Namesakes: Xolani Dube, a South African political analyst. Zakahle Xolani Ngcobo, a South African football player.
  • Popularity: Xolani reached a somewhat high popularity rating of 3647 in 2021.
Common

Yafeu

Yafeu is native to the Fe Fe tribe of Northeastern Africa. You’ll come across them in the Southern section of Ghana, where they speak a certain dialect of Akan. Yafeu is also heard in parts of Egypt. A stunning name for parents who value boldness in their young boy.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Bold
  • Pronunciation: yah-feh-oo
  • Variations: Yafe, Yafu, Yafeh
  • Namesakes: Yafeu Akiyele Fula, an American rapper known as Yaki Kadafi.
Classic

Yaro

Yaro is a favourite for naming boys in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Benin. A wonderful name for your son, that you’re unlikely to hear in other parts of the world.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Son
  • Pronunciation: yah-roh
  • Variations: Yarou, Yaruo, Yaaro
  • Popularity: Yaro jumped in popularity from 20460 to 8268 between 2018 and 2019.
Classic, Unusual

Yazid

Yazid has a wide origin, from both Arabic and Swahili-speaking people. It is usually used in Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. A touching name that speaks of strength and honour.

  • Origin: African, Arabic
  • Meaning: Increasing, grow, becoming greater
  • Pronunciation: yah-ZEED
  • Variations: Yazeid, Yazied, Yazzid
  • Popularity: Yazid rose quickly in popularity from 15241 to 9647 in 2020.
Modern

Yenge

Here’s a name that you won’t hear often outside of Africa. Yenge is more common in the DR Congo and Mauritania and is also used as a surname. It’s certainly a powerful name that reminds its hearers of the fruits of hard work.

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Work
  • Pronunciation: yen-geh
  • Variations: Yengé, Ayenge, Iyenge
Classic, Unusual

Zalika

Even though Zalika has a girlish sound, it is a versatile name used by both African and African-American parents for naming boys. In Africa, it originates from Swahili, particularly in Niger and Uganda. The name also has some roots in Egypt where it means “born into power.”

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: A well born child
  • Pronunciation: zah-LEEK-ah
  • Variations: Zalikha, Zalikah
  • Namesakes: Zalika Reid-benta, a Canadian writer who won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Literary Fiction.
Modern

Zane

Zane is a very popular African-American boy name today. Since the publication of Zane Grey’s books, the name has risen considerably in popularity. Many languages have staked their claim on the name. In Hebrew and Old English, it means “God is gracious,” while in Arabic it is a unisex name meaning “beloved.”

  • Origin: Arabic, English
  • Meaning: Beloved, God is gracious
  • Variations: Zain, Zayn, Ziane, Zaine, Zanë
  • Namesakes: Zane Grey, an American author and dentist known for his western novels and best-seller in 1912, Rider of the Purple Sage. A number of his books were developed into films.
  • Popularity: Zane has increased in popularity over time, and was recorded at the high ranking of 485 in 2020.
Modern, Popular

Zola

Zola is a unique name occurring across different continents. It is believed to come from a surname meaning “lump of earth,” made famous through the Italian author Emile Zola. However, according to the Zulu-speaking people in South Africa it refers to “peace.”

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Quiet, tranquil, peaceful
  • Pronunciation: zoh-lah
  • Variations: Zoila, Zoula, Zoyla, Zolla
  • Namesakes: Zola Budd, a South African barefoot runner who competed in the Olympics, breaking the world record for the 5000 meters in 1985.
Unusual, Unique

Zulekha

What a special name to finish our list of African boy names. Zulekha is commonly used for naming girls in Muslim and African-American households, where it means “precious.” In India, Zulekha means “young lady” or “brilliant beauty.” For African parents, it is traditionally used for naming boys, capturing the powerful love parents have for their son. A touching way to welcome your new addition to the family!

  • Origin: African
  • Meaning: Our precious son, beautiful
  • Pronunciation: zoo-leh-kah
  • Variations: Zuleikha, Zuleykha, Zhulekha
  • Namesakes: Zulekha Haywood, daughter of former professional American basketball player, Spencer Haywood and Somalian supermodel Iman Abdulmajid.
Unique
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About the Author

Sarah-Lynn Robertson

Sarah-Lynn Robertson is a freelance writer from the sunny and colorful country of South Africa. She writes for various websites and blogs on a wide range of topics and also dabbles in some copywriting from time to time. As a qualified environmental researcher, Sarah found she loved freelance writing way more interesting than sifting through endless spreadsheets of data for days on end. When she isn’t writing, Sarah loves reading, running, camping, and fishing with her husband, and taking her fluffy, four-legged friend Chester for a stroll or two.
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