30+ Popular African Last Names With Meanings And Origins

30+ Popular African Last Names Rich In Culture And History

February 11, 2020 Updated October 5, 2020

African last names
Bartosz Hadyniak

Last names provide a great bridge to our family’s past. African last names are popular around the globe. Due to a dark history of slave trade forced upon African colonies, these names are particularly common throughout the United States and Europe.

As Africa is made up of 54 countries (making it the second-largest continent in the world), its naming systems are diverse. Tribal, colonial, and linguistic influences all have a part to play. Many African countries also went without native last names until their colonizers imposed them. Given names in local languages were therefore adopted as surnames.

We’ve compiled a list of the most common and popular African last names along with their meaning and country of origin. Check them out to see if your name made the list!

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings of other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: Irish, French, Russian, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Hawaiian, Jewish, British, and Korean last names, among others.

    1. Adébáyọ̀
      Origin: Nigerian (Yoruba)
      Meaning: ‘He came in a joyful time’ or ‘the king/crown/royalty meets joy.’
    2. Abebe
      Origin: Ethiopian
      Meaning: ‘Flower’ or ‘blossom.’
    3. Ababio
      Origin: Ghanaian
      Meaning: ‘Child that keeps coming or reincarnation.’
    4. Kanumba
      Origin: Tanzanian
      Meaning: Unknown.
    5. Keita
      Origin: Malian
      Meaning: ‘Worshipper.’
    6. Kimathi
      Origin: Kenyan
      Meaning: ‘Earnest provider.’
    7. Bankole
      Origin: West African (Yoruba)
      Meaning: ‘Build my house for me.’
    8. Gbeho
      Origin: Ghanaian
      Meaning: Unknown.
    9. Afumba
      Origin: Zambian (Lozi)
      Meaning: ‘When they plan.’
    10. Negga/Nega
      Origin: Ethiopian
      Meaning: ‘The night has passed.’
    11. Chidubem
      Origin: Nigerian (Igbo)
      Meaning: ‘Guided by God.’
    12. Abbas
      Origin: An Arabic name found throughout Algeria
      Meaning: ‘Lion.’

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    13. Quansah
      Origin: Ghanaian
      Meaning: ‘God is watching.’
    14. Mambwe
      Origin: Zambian
      Meaning: ‘The Lord is gracious.’
    15. Adomako
      Origin: Ghanaian
      Meaning: Unknown.
    16. Hassan
      Origin: An Arabic name found throughout Morocco
      Meaning: ‘Handsome,’ ‘manly,’ or ‘strong.’
    17. Mostafa
      Origin: An Arabic name found throughout Egypt
      Meaning: ‘The Chosen One.’
    18. Kasongo
      Origin: Congolese
      Meaning: ‘Bushbuck.’
    19. Chizimu
      Origin: Malawian (Lambya)
      Meaning: Unknown.
    20. Abdallah
      Origin: An Arabic name found through Sudan
      Meaning: ‘Servant of God.’
    21. Badu
      Origin: Ghanaian
      Meaning: 10th-born child.
    22. Teklehaimanot
      Origin: Ethiopian
      Meaning: Derives from the name Tekle Haymanot, an Ethiopian monk and saint.
    23. Okoro
      Origin: Nigerian (Urhobo)
      Meaning: ‘Child of the freeborn man.’
    24. Chedjou
      Origin: Cameroonian
      Meaning: Unknown.
    25. Abimbola
      Origin: West African (Yoruba)
      Meaning: ‘Born with wealth.’
    26. Abara
      Origin: West African (Igbo)
      Meaning: Spirit.
    27. Jelani
      Origin: Swahili
      Meaning: Full of strength.
    28. Abiodun
      Origin: Yoruba
      Meaning: Born during the festival or war.
    29. Acheampong
      Origin: Ghanaian (Ashanti)
      Meaning: Destined for greatness.
    30. Abioye
      Origin: Nigerian
      Meaning: The son of royalty.
    31. Adebisi
      Origin: Nigerian (Yoruba)
      Meaning: “We added to the crown.”
    32. Boujettif
      Origin: Northern African (Archaic)
      Meaning: One who possesses a clever head.
    33. Nwadike
      Origin: Nigerian (Igbo)
      Meaning: Son of the brave; son of a hero.
    34. Selassie
      Origin: Ethiopian
      Meaning: Trinity.

Related: 20 Jamaican Last Names That’ll Make You Wanna Visit Kingston