Africa is a vast continent with a large number of diverse tribes and ethnic groups and as such, has a wealthy bank of baby name inspiration.
You might be wondering, what’s so special about a name? The issue of names and naming in Africa is always taken very seriously as it is believed that a person’s name goes a long way to chart the course of his or her life.
Africans have this ideology that there is some kind of vital force in everything. And when a name is given to a child, it is to equip the child with all the vital force necessary for him/her to succeed in dealing with any problem or to make a positive impact in the society.
Asides that, a name links you to a past- to your history, tradition, and cultural celebration. It is so fundamental that even if you want to look back and see where you came from and dig into your roots or lineage, you must first begin with your name.
African names go very much beyond the individuals to whom they are given. It is connected to many centuries of history that contributes to shaping and defining the true personality of the African people. It tells stories of communities, paints pictures of glory and greatness, and has the power to keep in memory victories of the past and promise prosperity for the future. They are usually passed from one generation to another in a bid to restore, maintain or create a sense of honour.
One of the things that are relatively common about traditional African names is that the grandparent or older person usually is the one that would choose the name.
Whatever traditional African name a baby is given, is largely influenced by several factors including the day, time or season a baby is born, how the baby looks, and the circumstances surrounding the birth.
A child’s name could also be dependent on the order of birth, especially when they are twins. Here, a person does not need to explain whether they are the eldest or youngest of their siblings because their names tell that much. For instance, the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria refer to the first twin as Taiwo (first to see the world) and the second as Kehinde (came after). Similarly, the Kalenjins in Kenya call the firstborn Yator (first to open the way) and the last born Towett (last).
Parents in some African countries usually name their children after famous political figures, with the hope that they would one day become as successful as the people after whom they are named. The Luos people of Kenya are particularly known for this. Also, many parents express their religious beliefs through the names they give to their children. Across the length and breadth of the continent, many local names have religious connections. Among the Igbo and Yoruba tribes in Nigeria, a name that begins or ends with Chi, Chukwu or Oluwa has some kind of reference to the supreme God.
It is common in Africa to see people bearing more than one name- for example, a name from their tribe, a religious/faith-based name, and a name arising from the day, or time of day they were born.
In some parts of the continent, a person is named as soon as the umbilical cord falls off while a child in some other parts earns a name after seven days. In some cases, a person is given one name and then, at eleven or twelve, would get an adult name.
So there are variations of names and methods of naming but one thing that is relatively common is that African names have meanings.
Meanwhile, in Africa, the male child is revered more than the female child, it is the dream of every man to have at least a male child in his lifetime, someone that can carry on with the family lineage.
There is this belief that the female child will eventually get married into another family while the male stays back and takes over from the father. Africans take names seriously, and the male names are quite different from the female.
Here is a list of African boy names that will suit your baby boy.
Selected African Boy Names
24) Bakari promise