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African Baby Names

Name Origin Meaning Rating Fav.
AbaAfricanAkeradini name meaning "born on Thu..
AbabuoAfricanA child that keeps coming back. Giv..
AbagbeAfricanThis child was wished for, we begge..
AbamAfricanAkeradini name meaning "second chil..
AbayomiAfricanOriki name meaning "she brings joy,..
AbayomiAfricanOriki name meaning "she brings joy,..
AbdallaAfricanMuslim name derived from the Arab..
AbduAfricanMuslim name derived from the Arab..
AbebiAfricanWe asked for her. Yoruba, Nigeria
AbeekuAfricanAkeradini name meaning "born on Wed..
AbejeAfricanWe asked to have this child. Yoruba..
AbejideAfricanOruko name meaning "born during win..
AbekeAfricanWe asked for her to pet her. Yoruba..
AbenaAfricanAkeradini name meaning "born on Tue..
AbeniAfricanWe asked for her, and look, we got ..
AbeoAfricanShe has come to bring happiness and..
AbidemiAfricanBorn during the father's absence. Y..
AbikanileAfricanListen. Yao, Malawi
AbimbolaAfricanOriki name meaning "born to be weal..
AbiodunAfricanOruko name meaning "born at the tim..
AbiolaAfricanOruko name meaning "born in honor, ..
AbionaAfricanOruko name meaning "born on a journ..
AcenithAfricanThe name of an African goddess of l..
AdammaAfricanChild of beauty, beautiful child, q..
AddaeAfricanAgyadini name meaning "morning sun...
AdeAfricanOriki name meaning "royal." Yoruba,..
AdebayoAfricanOruko name meaning "he came in a jo..
AdebenAfricanTwelfth-bom. Akan, Ghana.
AdebolaAfricanHonor is hers. Yoruba, Nigeria
AdedagboAfricanHappiness is a crown. Yoruba, Niger..
AdejolaAfricanOriki name meaning "the crown feeds..
AdelekeAfricanCrown brings happiness. Yoruba, Nig..
AdeolaAfricanCrown brings honor. Yoruba, Nigeria..
AdesimboAfricanNoble birth. Yoruba, Nigeria
AdesinaAfricanThis child opens the way (for more ..

Description of African Names
African Baby Names
Africa IS home to hundreds of languages and more than a thousand ethnic groups. Though customs vary, the naming traditions of the major cultural groups discussed in this chapter are representative of those across the continent. Children are revered throughout Africa and the birth of a child is an occasion for rejoicing. The naming ceremony is generally ritualistic and festive. It is cause for celebration to distinguish the child—to welcome him into the community and to congratulate the parents. A person's name is considered his most valuable possession, for it is the only thing that can survive death. Great care is therefore taken in selecting a child's name, and many factors are considered before the name is chosen. Names such as the female Komuko (this one will not die) and the male Zimoko (thank you) reflect the sad fact of high infant mortality and the parents' fervent hope that their child will survive. Birth order, the day of the week on which the child is born, important events, physical characteristics, religion, and circumstances surrounding the child's birth are important considerations in choosing a name. A Yoruba child is named on the seventh day after birth if it is female and on the ninth day if the baby is male. Twins and children born to Christian or Muslim parents are named on the eighth day. Three names are bestowed at the naming ceremony: the personal name (the oruko), the "praise" name (the oriki), and the kinship name (the orile). Traditionally, the oruko name is based on circumstances surrounding the birth or the family's living situation at the time. Examples of these types of names include the male name Adebayo (he came in a joyful time) and the female Abidemi (born during the father's absence). Other examples of oruko names fall into the category called "born-with" names and include Taiwo (firstborn twin) and Kehinde (second of twins). These "twin" names apply to children of either sex. The oriki typically expresses the hopes the parents have for the child's future, or in some cases, simply refers to a unique attribute of the child. The female name Abimbola (born to be rich) and the male Adunbi (born to be pleasant) are examples of these names. Finally, the orile name denotes which kinship group the child comes from. This genealogical name is often ancient, traced back as far as possible to the earliest known ancestor. This is comparable to our family names, which are often patronymics. A person's name is also of particular significance to the Ghanaian people. From the beginning, children are taught the importance of their names and to act properly and responsibly in order to bring honor to their names. If they are named after an important figure, it is their duty to emulate the life of that person. Ghanaian names consist of two parts: the Akeradini, the name of the deity associated with the day upon which the child is born, and the Agyadini, the name given to the child by its father. The Akeradini is bestowed upon the child immediately after birth. It is considered a "born-with" name. Examples are the female Adwoa (born on Monday) and the male Kwasi (born on Sunday). Often the family combines the birthday name with the birth order name, creating a unique name for the child. The Agyadini is not given until the naming ceremony on the seventh day after birth. The name is chosen from distinguished members of the father's family. The Ibo people of Nigeria are another group for whom a child's naming ceremony is of great importance. In general, an Ibo baby is named eight days after birth and the ceremony often begins with a spiritual diviner finding out which divinity reincarnated the child. Offerings are made to the spirit, who is regarded as the child's protector, and the child is given the name of the reincarnator. Several other names are also bestowed at the ceremony. A baby may be given a name indicative of its physical characteristics, the day on which it was born, or the parents' happiness at the birth of the child. The female Adamma (child of beauty) and the male Chijioke (God gives talent) are two such examples. The name chosen to be the primary name is the one that either expresses the parents' aspirations for the child's future or one that refers to the circumstances surrounding the child's birth. The Abaluyia ethnic group of western Kenya generally bestow names upon their children immediately after birth. These children often have at least six names. Two names are from the father's family group; two from the mother's family group; one denoting the day of the week on which the child was born; one denoting the season. Other names can be given to describe family or regional circumstances or a physical characteristic of the child. The Swahili people, one of Africa's largest cultural groups, are a mixture of African and Arab races. Their language, Kiswahili, has been heavily influenced by Islam and many Swahili names are easily recognizable as Kiswahilized Arabic names. Immediately after birth, a Swahili child is given a childhood name {jina la utotoni) by an elderly relative. In those cases where no relative is available, the midwife chooses the name. The childhood name is descriptive of the child's physical characteristics, circumstances surrounding the birth, or the family's living situation. Seven days after the birth, a Swahili child is given an adult name (jina la ukubwani). Commonly a Muslim or Bible name, it is bestowed upon the child by his or her parents or paternal grandparents. If the child is firstborn and male, he is given the name of the paternal grandfather. If the firstborn child is female, she will be given the name of her paternal grandmother. The presence of Islam in the countries of northern and eastern Africa has a direct influence on the choice of names in those countries. The peoples of the Sudan, Somalia, the Nigerian Hausa, and the Fulani are examples of groups with strong Islamic ties. Accordingly, most names bestowed upon their children are Muslim or Africanized Muslim names. Great care should be taken to pronounce African names correctly. The wrong inflection of voice or accenting the wrong syllable will in many cases change the meaning of the name and will be considered by the bearer to be a personal insult.
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