Africa is a diverse continent with multiple countries and nations. Whether you’re looking for African American boys’ names or you’re wanting a black male name that isn’t as often heard in the U.S., we have something on this list for you.
Here’s our list of 100 African boy names with definitions, fun facts, and more than a little historical and cultural context. We did all the legwork, so you can sit back, read, and make your list of possible names for the newest addition to your family.
100 African Boy Names and Meanings
These 100 African boy names have a variety of meanings and would make a fine name for any newborn boy.
The Fula name Aamadu means most praiseworthy.
Aamadu is an evolution of the Arabic name Ahmad. It’s a more elaborate form of Hamid, which means praiseworthy.
Abidemi is a Yoruba boys’ name, meaning born during father’s absence.
Like many Yoruba names, Abidemi references the circumstances of a child’s birth. This unique name is used when a baby’s father is temporarily away from the family home when the little one is born.
Aboubacar is a western African name meaning father of the young camel.
Found in parts of French-influenced Africa such as the Republic of Guinea, Aboubacar is a form of the Arab name Abu Bakr, which is where the name comes from.
Ade is a Yoruba name meaning crown.
In addition to being a standalone name, Ade is also a diminutive form of other names that begin with Ade.
The Ibibio name Akpan means firstborn son.
The meaning of this strong African boys’ name makes it ideal for the first son of a family that has Ibibio ancestry.
Akpofure means life is peaceful in Urhobo.
There’s something about the rhythm and sound of Akpofure that we adore. In addition, if you’re looking for an ironic Urhobo boys’ name, then Akpofure is the one for you because there’s little that’s peaceful about a crying newborn.
The African boys’ name Alassane means handsome.
Economist Alassane Ouattara worked for the International Monetary Fund, then the Central Bank for West African States before becoming Prime Minister of Ivory Coast in 1990. Ouattara has been President of Ivory Coast since 2010.
The Amharic name Alemayehu means I have seen the world.
Ethiopian jazz singer Alemayehu Eshete had his first hit single in 1961 with 30 more hits before fleeing the country when the military took control from 1974 to 1987. Now back in his home country, Eshete is known as the Ethiopian Elvis.
Amadi is an Igbo name meaning free man.
In 2015, the President of South Sudan decreed the existing ten states would be split into 28, one of which was named Amadi. In 2020, the President agreed to revert back to the original ten for the sake of peace.
Ameqran is a Tamazight name meaning eldest.
Tamazight, sometimes referred to as Tamaziɣt, is one of several Berber languages spoken across North Africa. Primarily found in Morocco, Ameqran is written as ⴰⵎⴻⵇⵔⴰⵏ in the traditional Tifinagh script.
Ayomide is a Yoruba name that means my joy has arrived.
Non-Yoruba speakers and those with English as a first language tend to pronounce this as A-OH-myde, but the correct pronunciation is ie-O-my-dee.
Azubuike is an Igbo name. It means the past is your strength.
Igbo naming conventions don’t include surnames. Two people of the same generation with the same name would be known as their name, followed by their father’s forename. However, unlike a surname, this is not passed down to the next generation.
The Amharic name Berhane means my light.
Ethiopian paleontologist Berhane Asfaw studied geology and chemistry at Addis Ababa University before attending Berkeley University in California to study African PreHistory and Physical Anthropology.
Asfaw was part of the team that discovered the remains of Homo Sapiens Idaltu, who lived 160,000 years ago in Pleistocene Africa.
Bitrus is the Hausa form of Peter, meaning stone.
If you feel pressured into naming your child after a relative named Peter, but you really want to give your son a Tswana name to reflect your heritage, Bitrus is an excellent compromise.
The Zulu name Bongani means grateful, thankful.
South African professional footballer Bongani Zungu plays for the SA national team and the Scottish club, Rangers. Currently, on loan from the French club Amiens, Rangers are considering signing him permanently for $3.7 million.
The East African boys’ name Cali means sublime, lofty.
Cali has recently become relatively popular in the US. However, the popular form of Cali is the girl’s name, a variant spelling of Callie, and not the boy’s Somali form.
Cardiraxman is a Somali name meaning servant of the merciful.
Cardiraxman is a form of the Arabic name Abd Al-Rahman which evolved among the Muslim population of Somalia. Similar evolutions include the Chechnian boys’ name Abdurakhman and the Maghrebis boys’ name Abderrahmane.
Chibuike is an Igbo name meaning God is strength.
Professor Chibuike Uche of the African Studies Centre Leiden specializes in research around international, foreign business operations in Africa, with a focus on Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.
Chikondi is a Chewa name that means love.
The Chikondi Orphanage in Malawi takes care of children who have lost their parents and provides education from preschool to the age of 19.
The Igbo name Chima means God knows.
In 2013, LEGO introduced a line of sets called Legends of Chima. The sets were followed by a 3D animated TV series, and together the line was supposed to replace Ninjago. However, Chima never took off and was discontinued in 2015.
Chinasa is an Igbo name meaning God answers.
Although Chinasa is a gender-neutral name in Nigeria, in many areas the vast majority of Chinasas are male. However, outside of Nigeria, the opposite is true, perhaps because of the “ah” sound at the end.
The Mwera name Chiumbo means small.
This is the ideal African boys’ name if you wish to honor your family’s Mwera heritage, and your baby is a tiny package of joy.
Chiyembekezo is a Chewa name that means hope.
While at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Chiyembekezo S. Kaunda published multiple research papers about the use of hydroelectricity in Malaki and the development of micro-hydropower projects in Tanzania.
Chucks is a diminutive of Igbo names beginning with chukwu, which means god.
Like many nicknames, Chucks evolved into a stand-alone name in its own right. While it’s a fun, youthful African boys’ name, we’re not sure how often you’d have to explain it’s not Chuck, short for Charles in the U.S.
The Shona name Dakarai means rejoice.
Zimbabwean-born music producer, engineer, and writer Dakarai Gwitira’s family moved to the U.S. when he was 10. Known mononymously as Dakarai, he’s worked with Ashanti, DJ Khaled, Nelly, and others before becoming best known as engineer and producer for G-Eazy.
Dawit is an Amharic form of David.
Dawit Isaak is the world’s longest imprisoned journalist. Isaak was jailed without trial in 2001 when the Eritrean government shut down all independent press, and he has been held incommunicado ever since.
Dejen means foundation, support, in Amharic.
The Ethiopian administrative district of Dejen is in the Northern Ethiopian region of Amhara. As a checkpoint for people crossing regional boundaries, the district is known for its abundance of restaurants and hotels.
The Amharic name Desta means joy.
The gender-neutral name Desta has a wholesome, strong vibe we adore. That, combined with the beautiful, upbeat meaning, makes this a winner for us.
The West African boys’ name Ebrima means feather of many.
This form of Ibrahim, which is where the meaning of the name comes from, is primarily used in the West African country of Gambia and surrounding areas.
Efe is a Urhobo name meaning wealth.
Efe is sometimes used as a stand-alone name but is more often a short form of other names beginning with the letters efe.
The Urhobo name Ejiro means praise.
Former professional footballer Ejiro “E.J.” Megetaveh Kuale was born in Daytona Beach, Florida. After playing for Georgia Tech in 2006, he signed with the New Orleans Saints, but injuries prevented him from playing a down in the NFL.
Ekene means to praise or thank in Igbo.
Ekene Ibekwe is an American-Nigerian basketball player who plays for Champagne Châlons-Reims Basket and the Nigerian National Team. He has also played in the Australian and Canadian basketball leagues.
The Yoruba name Ekundayo means sorrow becomes joy.
This lyrical African boys’ name is ideal for those who have struggled to become parents, or perhaps for a rainbow baby.
Eliud evolved from a Biblical Latin name meaning God is grandeur.
This Greek form of the Biblical Latin name is included because it is now found almost exclusively in Kenya. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge is the World Record Holder for the marathon, setting a time of 2:01:39 in 2018.
Faraji means consolation in Swahili.
Tropical Cyclone Faraji was the first category five storm of the 2021 storm season. First identified on February 4th, the storm waxed and waned, reaching speeds of up to 160 miles per hour before dispersing on February 16th.
An Oromo name, Gundina means growth, advancement.
Ethiopian theologian Gudina Tumsa was instrumental in creating the Council for Cooperation of Churches in Ethiopia (1). Tumsa was abducted by government forces and executed for his opposition to the Ethiopean military Junta.
Idir means alive in Tamazight.
Kabyle singer and musician Hamid Cheriet was better known by his stage name Idir. Trained as a geologist, Idir moved to France after completing his compulsory National Service in Algeria and embraced his love of music.
The Oromo name Ifa means light.
Ifá is a Yoruba religion and a system of divination. In 2005, Ifa was added to UNESCO’s list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Imamu is a Swahili name meaning spiritual leader.
American professional boxer Imamu Mayfield fought in both cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, as well as taking on a few professional MMA bouts. He was once the holder of the IBF cruiserweight title.
The Ibibio name Inyene means wealth.
Known professionally as Sir Inyene, Ete-Inyene Godwin Akpan is a visual media specialist specializing in photography and social media. He established PhotWaka Africa, focused on youth empowerment and creating a sustainable photography industry in Nigeria.
Isingoma is a Luganda name, meaning first of twins.
Isingoma Labongo Rukidi was the first of the Babiito kings of Bunyoro, a Banto kingdom in Western Uganda. The Babiito line was established when a small group of Lou encountered Bantu speakers in the area and settled with them.
The Ibibio name Itoro means praise, glory.
Nigerian artist Spin-E combines his native Nigerian and English in the lyrics for his 2018 track Itoro. His lyrics focus on his Christian faith, and he aims to share his beliefs with others through song.
Itumeleng means joy in Tswana.
South African professional footballer Itumeleng Khune was the oldest player on the South African side that held Brazil to a draw in the 2016 Olympics, an achievement in which his goalkeeping skills were instrumental.
Izem is a Tamazight name meaning Lion.
French-born music producer Jérémie Moussaid Kerouanton performs under the name Izem. His music features Afro-beats, Latin-American musical influences, and a range of international lyrical artists.
Jumaane is a Swahili name that means born on a Tuesday.
Jumaane Williams is the current New York City Public Advocate, a position to which he was elected in 2019. Before then, Williams, who has Tourettes and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, represented the 45th District in the New York City Council in Brooklyn from 2009 to 2019.
Kabelo means given in Sotho.
Kabelo Mabalane is a kwaito musician, songwriter, and actor born in South Africa. A judge on SA’s Got Talent, he has opened for artists such as 50-Cent, Jay-Z, and Ja Rule, as well as achieving success as a solo artist and member of TKZee.
Kagiso is a Tswana name meaning peace.
Kagiso Media is based in South Africa. It is owned by Kagiso Tiso Holdings, a financial investment company created through the merger of the two leading black-owned and managed companies in South Africa.
Kamau means quiet warrior in Kikuyu.
If you are looking for black boy names or warrior names, this gorgeous Kikuyu moniker gives you the best of both worlds. Plus, it has cute nickname potential with either Kam or Mau.
The Kikuyu name Kamotho means left-handed one.
Some Kikuyu names began as nicknames. A grandfather might be known as Kamotho and then when his grandson was born, parents would ask permission to use his name for the baby. Consequently, Kamotho moved from nickname to “proper” name.
The Kikuyu name Kariuki means reincarnated one.
One of the central tenets of traditional Kariuki beliefs is that parents are a child’s direct link to God through their dead ancestors. Consequently, Kariuki is a name of great meaning and significance.
Katlego is a Tswana name that means success.
Katlego is a gender-neutral Tswana name used predominantly in Southern Africa, as is the Sotho name Katleho which also means success. Both Tswana and Sotho are official languages in South Africa.
Kato is a Luganda name meaning second of twins.
If you have traced your ancestry and discovered you have Luganda heritage, then Kato is the perfect twin name to go with the first twin name Babirye.
The Yoruba name Kayin means celebrated child.
In addition to being a traditional Yoruba name, Kayin is also an entirely separate Ancient Hebrew form of the name Cain, which means acquired.
Kayode is a Yoruba name that means he brought joy.
Some Yoruba names are chosen because of the circumstances of birth, while others are selected during the nine days between the delivery and the naming ceremony. Kayode is one of those names chosen in the nine days.
Kgosi is a Tswana name meaning king or chief.
Kgosi is the hereditary title for the king or chief of a Batswana tribe. The Batswana people live in what is now called Botswana and the North and North-Western areas of South Africa.
A Swahili name, Kibwe means blessed.
Robots of Brixton is an award-winning movie by British filmmaker Kibwe Tavares that explores the relationships between architecture, race, and class. A TED Senior Fellow, Tavares is also co-founder of the animation studio Factory Fifteen.
Kofi is an Akan name, meaning born on a Friday.
Naming your child after the day of the week on which they’re born is a common Akan custom. Names have other associations, according to the traditional Akan calendar (2). Kofi is associated with fertility.
The Akan name Kojo means born on a Monday.
Kojo is a variant of the Akan boys’ name of the same meaning, Kwadwo. It can also be written KoJo or Koojo, depending on the personal transcription used by an individual family.
Kwabena is an Akan name, meaning born on a Tuesday.
In the traditional Akan seven-day calendar, Tuesday is called Bena and is considered the birthday of the ocean, of boiling, of heating, and cooking. An alternative spelling is Kobena.
The Akan name Kwadwo means born on a Monday.
The Akan have a six-day week and a seven-day week; the latter is thought to have been brought south with traders from the savannah. Monday is Dwo and associated with peace and calm.
Born on a Wednesday is the meaning of this Akan boys’ name.
The traditional Akan name for the day of the week the English call Wednesday is Wukuo. Wukuo is the Birthday of Spider, a reverse or mortal version of god. An alternative spelling is Kweku.
Kwame means born on a Saturday in Akan.
Mene is the Akan name for Saturday. It is said to be the Birthday of Supreme, or the sky god, and the day of the ancient and respected.
Kwasi is an Akan name. It means born on a Sunday.
This traditional day name of the Akan people of Ghana and Ivory Coast is also the Akan word for Sunday. Kwasi is under day, a name from the word awiase, which means under the sun and encompasses everything in the universe.
The Hausa name Kyauta means gift.
The Hausa are the largest ethnic group in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Hausa language is the second-most spoken in the region, after Arabic. The largest Hausa populations are in modern-day Nigeria and Niger.
Lanre is a Yoruba name meaning my wealth is my future.
Many Yoruba names associated with wealth are given to boys who are destined to become Dibia, masters of esoteric knowledge, and the practitioners of Afa.
Lekan is a Yoruba name that means my wealth is increased.
Lekan is sometimes a nickname for boys with the name Olamilekan but can also be used as a stand-alone name in its own right.
The Oromo name Lelisa means admirer.
While this is a cute African boys’ name in countries without English as the primary language, in many English-speaking countries, boys named Lelisa struggle with people misreading their name as Lisa.
Lencho is an Oromo name meaning lion.
In Spain, Lencho is short for Florencio and Lorenzo, so if you have Spanish family members, this may become confusing. Also, in some parts of the world, Lencho is an offensive slur against men from the LGBTQ community.
The Chewa name Limbani means be strong.
Chewa is also known as Nyanja and is the official language of Malawi and Zambia. A specific dialect known as Town Nyanja is used in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.
Lishan means award in Amharic.
Lishan is a gender-neutral name in eastern Africa and is an entirely separate gender-neutral name in China. The Chinese meaning varies depending on which characters are used for the written form.
Madalitso is a Chewa name meaning blessings.
Zambian golfer Madalitso Muthiya won a scholarship to play golf at the University of New Mexico, after which he turned professional. In 2006, Muthiya was the first black African and the first Zambian to play in the U.S. Open.
This form of Muhammad, meaning praised, is found in French-influenced western Africa.
For Islamic parents who can trace their heritage back to western Africa, Mahamadou could be a fabulous African boys’ name that reflects two facets of your family’s beliefs and ancestry.
Maina is a Kikuyu name meaning sing, dance.
Initiation into Kikuyu society took place through circumcision, which was periodically carried out en masse. The group of circumcised males was given a collective name, and Maina was the name of one such group, which then transferred to a forename.
Mandla is a Zulu name meaning strength, power.
Boys’ names meaning strong, powerful, or something similiar can be found in almost every culture. This traditional Zulu name could be considered equivalent to the Italian boys’ name Nero.
Mandlenkosi is a Zulu name meaning powerful, strong king, chief.
There is some debate around the origin and meaning of Mandlenkosi. We have listed it as Zulu because of its connection to Mandla, but we also read it is a wider Bantu name meaning strength of the Lord.
The Yao name Masamba means leaves, vegetables.
Masamba is the stage name of Alphonse Masamba Butera, a Rwandan singer, musician, and dancer who pioneered the teaching of Kinyarwanda dance to the Rwandan diaspora.
The Chewa name Mavuto means problems, troubles.
Pronounced mah-VOO-tu, this traditional Chewa name is one of those beautiful African boys’ names that sounds exactly as it’s spelled.
Mawuli is a Ewe name that means God lives.
Born in Ghana, Mawuli Gavor was studying business at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, when he began modeling. Upon his return to Ghana, he pivoted from accounting to becoming a Nollywood actor and producer.
Maxamed is a Somali form of Muhammad.
The Somali people have been indigenous to the Horn of Africa for over 7,000 years. Consequently, names have been influenced by interaction with multiple cultures and religions, including Islam, hence the Somali form of the Arab name Mohammad.
Mayamiko is a Chewa name that means praise, gratitude.
Mayamiko is a Fair Trade company that began in Malawi and has expanded to include traditionally produced clothes, accessories, and gifts from around the world.
The Chewa name Mayeso means test.
The literal meaning of Mayeso is test, but more specifically, it is seen to mean test from God. Therefore, it could be a good name for parents who have had to have great faith in order to have a child.
The Xhosa name Melisizwe means leader of the nation.
A contest by Nickelodeon dubbed winners The Melisizwe Brothers “The Most Musical Family In America.” The brothers were awarded a record contract, have appeared on multiple TV shows, and their videos have seen incredible viral success.
The Swahili name Mosi means first child.
If your firstborn child has Swahili ancestry, Mosi could be a great name for you. Short and sweet, it also has the fun nickname Mos.
Moti is an Oromo name, meaning leader.
As well as an Oromo name, Moti is also a short form of the Romani name Motshan, which itself is a form of the Yiddish Movcha or Moses.
Moussa means son.
Moussa is an alternative transcription of the Arabic Musa, a form of Moses which means son. Moussa is most commonly found in western Africa.
The Chewa name Mphatso means gift.
Mphatso is pronounced M – as in maze, po as in the beginning of pot, t-so, which can be tricky for non-Chewa speakers to get their tongues around.
Mpho is a Tswana and Sotho name, meaning gift.
While the direct translation of Mpho is gift, it evolved from the word fa, which means to offer. So rather than gifts, the broader meaning of the word is more like an offering.
The exact meaning of Mubiru is unknown.
Mubiru is the name of a figure in the traditional oral histories of Ganda. Mubiru is associated with forests and hunting, so this may be a name for those parents who have a connection to forests or hunting.
A Kikuyu name, Mwangi means rapid expansion.
Mwangi was the collective name for an entire age set of Kikuyu males who were initiated into manhood at the beginning of the 20th century.
Ndidi is an Igbo name that means patience.
The correct Igbo pronunciation of Ndidi is N-the-the. Still, if you are in a predominantly English-speaking country, you’ll be forever correcting those who incorrectly pronounce it N-dee-dee.
Nnamdi is an Igbo name meaning my father is alive.
This bold Igbo boys’ name was traditionally given to a child when it is thought he is the reincarnation of his grandfather.
Nthanda means star in Tumbuka.
The Tumbuka people were almost decimated in the 18th and 19th centuries by Swahili and Ngoni invaders who captured them as slaves. In modern Malawi, pure Tumbuka is spoken in rural areas, while urban Tumbuka is influenced by Chewa and Swahili.
The Luhya name Nyongesa means born on a Saturday.
Luhya children are usually named after grandparents and other relatives in a standard order, beginning with the paternal grandfather. If no other relatives’ names are available, names denoting circumstances of birth, like Nyongesa, are used.
Nzinga is a Mbundu form of Njinga, meaning to twist or wrap.
Mbundu is spoken by the Ambundu people of what is now called northwest Angola. The Ambundu were established when northern Bantu populations came down and established settlements among the indigenous Khoi-San population.
The Igbo name Obi means heart.
In addition to being a name, an obi is the central building in an Igbo homestead. Most used as a place to receive guests, the obi is the heart of the home, hence the definition of the name.
Okoro is an Urhobo name that means man.
While it is not an Urhobo form of any other name, Okoro has the same definition as Adam and possibly Karl.
The meaning of the Swahili name Omari is uncertain.
Omari could be a Swahili form of Umar which means flourishing, prosperity. This appears to be the most likely root, as there are other examples of Swahili evolutions of traditional Arabic names.
The Tumbuka name Sekani means laugh.
Sekani is one of the rare African boys’ names that makes it to the top 1,000 most used boys’ names list in the U.S. In 2019, it appeared at number 871, with 251 newborns being named Sekani that year.
Simba is a Shona name meaning strength.
In addition to being a strong traditional Shona name, Simba has Disney and The Lion King associations. That’s because of the similar Swahili name Nsimba, meaning lion, which Disney altered to make it easier for U.S. audiences.
Tafari may mean he who inspires in Amharic.
Ras Tafari, meaning King Tafari, was the last emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians revere Tafari as the incarnation of God on Earth.
Beautiful African Boy’s Names
As with other cultures, the meanings of African boy names are resplendent with references to strength, family, love, and god.
While many people have a tendency to lump the entire continent together, we have tried to reflect the rich social, cultural, and religious influences of some of the many peoples who make up this vast, diverse place.