African names - Baby names with the origin African
The Naming Complexity Of Africans
African people speak 2,000 different languages and comprise over a 1,000 various ethnic groups. Religious practices vary from Voodoo to Muslim to Christian, with many others in between. Major name types are indicative of usage and can imply geographical regions. They consist of Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, Western Africa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Interestingly, Nigerian names span the last 3 types of 5 classifications. The multitude and diversity of its inhabitants make Africa one of the most complex in naming customs on the planet.
The first human habitation in the world and according to paleontologists, the origin of human beings, the African continent is the oldest in the world.1 With youths, aged 14-25, comprising over 20 % of the countries total population, Africa is also the youngest continent. Second only to Asia in population and size, Africa blankets 20.4 % of the Earth’s total land area. Africans number over 1 billion accounting for about 15 % of the world population.2 The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea (N), the Atlantic Ocean (W), the Indian Ocean (SE), and the Red Sea & Suez Canal (NE).
Naming practices in Africa are often references to the circumstances or the birth’s timing. For example, Akinyi means “born in the morning”, Ige says “born breach”, and Abiodun “born on a festival”. Other names reference the day of the child’s birth: Esi (Sunday), Kwaku (Wednesday), and Khamisi (Thursday). Gender neutral, ordinal references for birth are also used, as in Mosi (1st born), Kunto (3rd born), Nkruma (9th born), and Kato (the 2nd twin).
Traditional African names may serve as descriptive parental desires for their children, like:
Yejide (of the mother)
Olanrewaju (future wealth is mine)
Dada (curly hair)
Azubuike (strong back)
Parental reactions to the child’s arrival in the world can also provide another name source, as in:
Abeni (we got what we asked for)
Amadi (seemed destined for death when born)
Chidimma (God is good)
Tafadzwa (we are pleased)
Ayomide (joy has arrived)
Words from a particular African tribe’s vocabulary are commonly used in naming. The name Simba means “lion” in Swahili, while in the Tswana and Sesotho tribes, the name Tau has the same meaning. Additional examples include Marjani (coral), Sefu (sword), and Masamba (leaves or vegetables).
Africa’s 54 states and 9 regions were once predominantly Christian with small segments continuing to practice tribal religions, such as Voodo, and even smaller factions practicing Buddhism, Hinduism. However, over the past decade the nation has undergone rapid Islamization spreading from Africa’s northern horn, and presently, the religion of Islam is the most practiced faith on the continent.3 This religious transition has resulted in a transition from European and Christian names to Muslim names. This is further indicated on Africa’s current top ten baby names list surveyed online which is given below.
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Asked for (Nigerian).
Tigrinya of Ethiopia female name meaning 'she has made it light, she emanates light.'
Ibo of Nigeria female name meaning 'beautiful child' or 'queenly.'
Amharic and Tigrinya of Ethiopia female name meaning 'she has rescued them.'
Akan or Ahsanti of Ghana name for females born on Sunday.
Somali female name meaning 'bright.'
Yoruba of Nigeria name meaning 'joy.'
Akan of Ghana name for females born on Wednesday.
The word for 'mermaid' in the Mina language of Togo.
Amharic of Ethiopia female name meaning 'may I not lose you, may I find you always my precious.' May be shortened to Tash.
Male and female name in both Amharic and Tigrinya languages of Ethiopia. It means 'harvest.'
Ibo of Nigeria name meaning 'who knows what God has brought us through this child.'
Lucky, fortunate (Swahili)
The name of one of the Candaces, or Queen Mothers, of the Nubian kingdom of Kush (now northern Sudan). This name could be shortened to AMANI, itself a Kiswahili word meaning 'peace.'
A popular female name among the Wolof of Senegal.
This means 'sweet face' in Hausa language.
Ibo of eastern Nigeria name meaning 'happiness is the best.'
A Nyakyusa of Tanzania female name meaning 'hospitality.'
Her father's daughter (Nigerian)
Af of Kenya name meaning 'friend.'
A Taita people of Kenya female name; meaning unknown.
Yoruba of Nigeria female name meaning 'princess.'
Ibibio of Nigeria name for female children born on market day, called Edet.
A Kiswahili word meaning 'grated coconut.'
Luo of Kenya name for females born after sunset.
Swahili name for girls born at the time of a wedding. 'Arusi' is the Kiswahili word for wedding.