African Baby Names

What a blessing.  You’ve got a new little bundle of joy on its way and so many decisions to make between now and the day your baby will be born.  One of the most exciting decisions you’ll need to make is the baby’s name.

Many people of African descent are choosing some very traditional African baby names instead of the more traditional names in America that are often based upon European lineage.  If you are considering an African name, perhaps a little exploration is in order.

Western African baby names are chosen with a great deal of consideration.  Here, a name is believed to produce lifelong influence and names must be just right.  A name that signifies strong ambition might be too strong and bring disappointing repercussions while a name that is less bold may generate a life where the baby is hindered in living up to his or her fullest potential.

Religion, too, is a factor when choosing African baby names.  Northern Africa is predominantly Muslim so many babies there are given Arabic names.  Christianity is a strong influence in central and southern Africa so many names there reflect European origins.

Tribal religions are found throughout the continent so many African baby names reflect tribal roots dating back to a time before either Islam or Christianity.  Some of the major African languages are Hausa, Kongo, Shona, Swahili, Yoruba, and Zulu and many African babies’ names are derived from these languages.

One very intriguing aspect of tribal African baby names is that they often reflect the circumstances of the baby’s birth.  A child named Ulan is the first born of twin boys and a boy named Sulaiman is expected to grow up to be a peaceful man while a son named Uba can expect a life of wealth.

Traditional African baby names for girls include Malika, the princess or queen, or Naeem, the benevolent one.  Aba is a daughter born on Thursday and Arziki is destined for prosperity.  Compassionate parents might want to avoid naming their beloved daughter Kambo, though, no matter how pretty it sounds.  Girls named Kambo must work for everything.

African baby names bring a little bit of ancient ancestry back to life in the form of this newest, unique, person but, for many parents and cultures, reverence for ancestry is strong and proud.  Naming a child for beloved ancestors is another source of inspiration when naming a baby in America, or Africa, or in any family anywhere.

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