Names are of great significance to people as they give the bearer a form of identity. For this reason, people tend to attach so much value to names because people tend to associate your life and actions with the name you bear. This explains why a lot is taken into consideration before a child is named. The Tswana people of South Africa are also not left out when it comes to attaching great significance to the names people bear. Their culture agrees with the general norm that what a child is called eventually becomes the identity of the child.
100 Unique Tswana Names For Boys and Girls and Their Meanings
All names are beautiful and convey different meanings. However, parents decide what names they deem suitable for their child. Their decisions are often informed by the emotions surrounding the pregnancy and arrival of their precious one. Here is a list of selected 100 unique Tswana names for boys and girls.
50 Tswana Names for Boys
Meaning: Let us praise the name of the lord (God)
Meaning: This is the Tswana version of Andrew (as in the bible)
Meaning: Praise Him or Praise God
Meaning: God’s hand is involved
Meaning: Leader or leadership. It is suitable for a male child born into a leadership role.
Meaning: Our savior
Meaning: They are happy, content, or fulfilled
Meaning: Those who give testimony or bearers of good news
Meaning: His (God’s) kingdom drew near. Resonates with the line ‘Thy kingdom come’ from the popular Christian prayer, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.
Meaning: Someone to lean on or a dependable person
Meaning: God is my Judge or it can also be referred to as the Tswana version of the bible name Daniel
Meaning: He cannot be defeated or God cannot be defeated
Meaning: God knows everything
Meaning: It is God who does all things
Meaning: It is God who gives
Meaning: God knows our heart desires
Meaning: Success or Greatness
Meaning: I was given a gift
Meaning: Thank you
Meaning: I have increased in number or status
Meaning: Whom shall I call?
Meaning: A savior
Meaning: Governor or leader
Meaning: A Builder
Meaning: Herder, that is, one who looks after animals.
Meaning: Guest or visitor
Meaning: One who confiscates or takes over
Meaning: One who brings animals into the kraal in the evening
Meaning: The builder of fire
Meaning: A loud call for help in a time of difficulty
Meaning: The lost one, a prodigal one
Meaning: Pay damages for her. This name may be given in a situation where the father of the child has not paid damages for the child’s mother or married her.
Meaning: One who pays damages to another
Meaning: One who brings rain
Meaning: Good thing or Good one
Meaning: He has done it or God has done it
Meaning: God is the only one or simply, He is the only one
Meaning: God-given gift
Meaning: He is representing me
Meaning: God has protected me
Meaning: I have been remembered
Meaning: He has given us
Meaning: Will power
Meaning: His Kingdom has come or God’s Kingdom has come
50 Tswana Names for Girls
Meaning: It is enough, sufficient, or adequate. This name is usually given to last-born female children in a family.
Meaning: What they thought did not come to pass.
Meaning: Two people. Ideal for twins.
Meaning: Workers or producers.
Meaning: Believe or do not lose faith or hope.
Meaning: They are close to me. Often to show familial relationships.
Meaning: Why do they doubt or not have faith?
Meaning: Rare, unique, or special.
Meaning: They have failed. This name is usually given to commemorate a victory over an enemy or situation.
Meaning: This popular Tswana name means gift.
Meaning: My tears have been wiped.
Meaning: Things do not end.
Meaning: To glorify.
Meaning: Be careful with what you say to people because you cannot take them back.
Meaning: He (ie God) does not shy away from our problems.
Meaning: God is not jealous.
Meaning: You can’t be angry with God.
Meaning: She is beautiful.
Meaning: This name has its origin from the word ‘Joala’ which means “Alcohol” and it suggests that the mother of the child drank a lot of alcohol while pregnant.
Meaning: To receive with open hands. This name has cultural significance and it is usually used as a sign of respect.
Meaning: I have taught them.
Meaning: These are women. This name is ideal for twin girls or to reference the achievements of women within the family or clan.
Meaning: I have agreed.
Meaning: I have won or victory.
Meaning: I am very rich.
Meaning: I am happy or it can also be used to express gratitude and in this case, the meaning will be, I am thankful.
Meaning: I am watching God.
Meaning: They have done it for me.
Meaning: Blessing or Lucky.
Meaning: A girl again. This name is given when there are recurring baby girls especially if the family desire male children.
Meaning: He has protected me.
Meaning: God has protected me.
Meaning: God provided for me.
Meaning: Think about it or simply think. This name comes in handy when a child comes at a time when a serious decision needs to be made
Meaning: God has relieved me.
Meaning: God’s light.
Meaning: She has completed her job.
Meaning: Noble heart
Meaning: Beautiful Heart
Meaning: Born of rain
Meaning: We are here
Meaning: The one who loves herself
Popular Tswana Unisex Names
Meaning: To receive, welcome, or accept what you have been given. This could mean accepting the child or a certain situation.
Meaning: Increase, multiply, or enlargement.
Meaning: Receive with cupped hands or receive in abundance.
Meaning: They know the truth or they know the situation.
Meaning: To mend or repair what is broken.
8. Ipeleng/ Itumela
Meaning: Be happy or happiness
Meaning: Peace of mind.
Meaning: To think.
Meaning: Success, prosperity.
Meaning: I was given.
Meaning: I am thankful, to be thankful, or to give thanks.
Meaning: I have been comforted.
Meaning: Be thankful for what you have.
Popular Tswana Clan Names and Their Meanings
Like the names of individuals, the major Tswana clans are also given names that depict the unique nature of a clan. Here is a list of Tswana clan names and their meanings.
Note: The ‘bo’ or ‘ba’ prefix in the clan names mean ‘people’
Meaning: People of the dew or grass. The clan is also referred to as The Royal Bafokeng Nation.
Meaning: Those who venerate the crocodile.
Meaning: The actual meaning of the Balete clan/tribe is not available. As of name, it is simply a name associated with this unique Tswana clan.
Meaning: The literal meaning of this clan is also not known. However, even though the meaning of the clan is not certain, it produced the first president of Botswana, Seretse Khama – this had earned them a lot of popularity over the years.
Meaning: There is no specific meaning attached to the clan’s name and so they are simply referred to as the ‘People of Ngwaketse’.
Meaning: People of the Rolong tribe is the literal meaning that has been given to this clan since their name has no specific meaning.
Meaning: Lion’s den
Meaning: Those with an affinity for fish.
Meaning: People of Tlôkwa.
Meaning: No specific meaning has been linked to Bakgatla but the clan remains notable as one of the 8 principal Tswana clans.
Notable People With Tswana Names
Meaning: Tshepo sometimes spelled Tsepo, is a popular Tswana/Sesotho name. It means ‘Hope’ and is derived from ‘tshepa’ which can signify ‘Trust’. The name is unisex and many distinguished sons and daughters of the Tswana/Setswana tribe go by it. More so, the name Tshepo is so popular that it is a moniker for the clothing label, Tshepo Jeans. Some popular persons that go by the name are:
- Tshepo Gumede: He is a South African professional footballer and plays for the AmaZulu club as a defender.
- Tshepo Mangena: Notable as a former South African cricketer who was a left-handed batsman, right-arm medium-fast bowler, and wicket-keeper for Limpopo.
- Tshepo Motsepe: She is the current First Lady of South Africa and a notable physician as well as a businesswoman.
Meaning: Lebogang/Lebohang is another beautiful Tswana name that ticks with famous people. The name means “gratitude” or “be thankful”. For a pet name, Lebogangs are often called Lebo. Some notable real-life Lebogangs are:
- Lebogang Mashile: The stunning lady is a South African actor, writer, and performance poet. She appeared in Terry George’s 2004 film Hotel Rwanda.
- Lebogang Shange: He is notable as a South African race walker and had emerged 4th place in the 2017 World Championship.
Meaning: The name Karabo means ‘Answer’ and is suitable for boys and girls alike. Here are some famous personalities that go by the name:
- Anna Karabo Mots’oeneng: Now Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso by marriage, she is Lesotho’s queen consort and the wife of King Letsie III of Lesotho. Anna Karabo is best known for using her position as queen to advocate for causes close to her heart, especially projects related to HIV/AIDS.
Meaning: Katlego is a unique unisex name that literally translates to ‘Success’ or ‘Extreme Wealth’. Here are some public figures named Katlego:
- Katlego Mphela: He is a South African professional soccer player who has played for the Arcadia Shepherds F.C., Orlando Pirates, Jomo Cosmos F.C., RC Strasbourg Alsace, Stade de Reims, SuperSport United F.C, Mamelodi Sundowns F.C., Kaizer Chiefs F.C, South Africa national under-23 football team, and the national football team.
- Katlego Maboe: He is a notable South African media personality, songwriter, singer, TV presenter, and accountant. He won the South African Film and Television Awards in 2015 and 2016.
Meaning: Itumeleng is a name with a very deep meaning. Although it literally means ‘Joy’, it is believed that the meaning the name holds cannot be described in one word. Some popular personalities are named Itumeleng.
- Itumeleng Isaac Khune: He is a South African professional soccer player who currently plays as a goalkeeper for Kaizer Chiefs football club in the Premier Soccer League and the South African national team. More so, he is the captain of both teams.
The Significance of Names Among Tswana People
South Africa is a multi-faceted nation with diverse peoples and cultures. Each tribe has its own unique lifestyle and sometimes a distinct language. Tswana is one such tribe and beyond South Africa, they are dominant in Botswana. This tribe has recorded tremendous growth over the years and as of now, approximately 8.2 million people speak Tswana.
A distinct feature of this tribe is the importance its people place on their customs and when it comes to naming a child among the Tswana people. There are many factors that are considered before the task is carried out. These include the situations surrounding the birth of the child, events within the family, but top on the list are cultural and traditional beliefs. A child can be given the Tswana name Kagiso which means ‘Peace’ – such a child is born at a time when there is a crisis within the family or the family has just emerged from an overwhelming situation. However, parents sometimes pick a name that reflects their future aspirations or what they wish for their child or children.