African Submitted Surnames

African names are used in various places on the continent of Africa. See also about African names.
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Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
ABDELLAHIWestern African, Wolof
From the given name Abdellah (chiefly Mauritanian).
ABDULLAHINigerian
Possibly an Islamic male name or surname as well as Nigerian.
ABEBEAmharic, Ethiopian
Means "flower" in Amharic.
ABIOYENigerian
From the given name Abioye.
ABOAHAkan
Meaning unknown.
ACHAMPOMAAAfrican
Allegedly a feminine form of Achampong used in Ghana.
ACHAMPONGWestern African
Variant of the Ashanti surname Acheamphong, meaning "destined for greatness".
AGBAJENigerian, Yoruba
Meaning unknown. A bearer is Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (1967-), an English actor and model of Yoruba Nigerian descent.
AGRINYANigerian (Rare)
Means "warrior" in the Nigerian language of Yala. It was an earned name.
AGUIgbo
Agu is an Igbo surname; the word Agu means Tiger in Igobo language.
AGUMANUIgbo, Trinidadian Creole
its an last name and first name that comes from an Igbo tribe in Trinidad
AGYAREAkan
Meaning unknown.
AGYEIAkan
Meaning unknown.
AÏTBerber, Northern African
Derived from Tamazight ⴰⵢⵜ (aït) meaning "son", also commonly used a component for compound names and surnames.
AÏTBRAHIMBerber, Northern African
Means "son of Brahim", from Tamazight ⴰⵢⵜ (ait) meaning "son" combined with the Arabic given name Brahim.
AKYEAMPONGAfrican
Akan name from Ghana. It means the one who gives birth to princes. Mostly spelt Acheampong mainly to make life easy for Europeans, however that spelling is wrong because there is no "c" in the Akan or Twi alphabet... [more]
ALBAZJewish, Northern African
Ashkenazic Jewish name meaning, "falconer" found mainly amongst Jewish peoples emigrating from Algeria and Morocco.
ALIOUNEWestern African, Wolof
From the given name Alioune (chiefly Mauritanian).
AMANKONAAkan
Meaning unknown.
AMEZIANEBerber, Northern African
Variant transcription of Meziane.
AMIDANENorthern African, Arabic (Maghrebi)
Meaning unknown; used by the native Sahrawi people of the disputed region of Western Sahara. Two known bearers are El Wali Amidane (1986-) and Elkouria Amidane (1985-), both Sahrawi human rights activists.
AMIRIPersian, Arabic, Swahili
From the given name Amir (1).
AMISSAHAkan
Meaning unknown.
ANOTIDAISHEShona
Anotidaishe means "the Lord loves us".
ARJWANAEastern African
Eastern African
ASANTEShona
Meaning unknown.
AXMEDSomali
Somali form of Ahmed.
AZOULAYJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Sephardic Jewish surname of disputed meaning; it may be derived from French azur or Spanish azul both meaning "blue" (of Persian origin), from Tamazight izîl meaning "good, pure, sublime", or from an acronym of the Hebrew Biblical passage אִשָּׁ֨ה זֹנָ֤ה וַחֲלָלָה֙ לֹ֣א יִקָּ֔חוּ (’iš-šāh zō-nāh wa-ḥă-lā-lāh lō yiq-qā-ḥū) meaning "They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane".
BABANigerian, Yoruba, Western African
From an honourific title used to denote a father, wise man, or an elder.
BABIKERNorthern African, Arabic
Possibly from Arabic بَكَرَ (bakara) meaning "first born" or "to be early" (chiefly Sudanese).
BARRYAfrican
A Guinean surname meaning the family comes from the Peul, Fulani, or Foulbe ethnic groups of West Africa.
BEKKERAfrikaans
bekker is a regional form of Dutch bakker which means Baker
BENAYOUNJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Moroccan Jewish surname meaning "son of Ayoun", based off of an Amazigh (Berber) transcription of the Hebrew personal name Chayyim.
BENHAIMJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Variant of Ben Haim used by Jews in North Africa.
BENSIMONJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Variant of Ben Simon used by Jews in North Africa.
BENSOUSSANJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Maghrebi Jewish surname meaning "son of Shoshannah".
BOAKYEAkan
Meaning unknown.
BOLAJINigerian
This surname is very common in Nigeria. Possibly taken from a word in one of the Nigerian tribes languages.
BOUHOUCHEBerber, Northern African
Kabyle name possibly derived from Arabic أَبُو (ʾabū) meaning "father" and حَوْش (ḥawš) meaning "courtyard, enclosure, farm" (chiefly Algerian).
BOUJETTIFNorthern African (Archaic)
Meaning, "The family of the son of the Clever Head" or "One Whom Possess a Clever Head." Bou (normally used in the North African Regions of the Maghrib Countries) has 2 possible derivative meanings both originating from the Arabic language, "Son of..." or an Arabic word Tho meaning, "One Who Possess A Quality." Jettif is a variance of Jettef, Jeif or Ji'f which is derived from the ancient Tamazight or Imazighen (popularly known as Berber) and is pronounced "j-ixf" which means Clever, head, or brain."
BOUSHABWestern African
Used in Mauritania.
BUYSAfrikaans (Modern)
South Africa, Pretoria
CHAMAPIWAShona
Chamapiwa means "that which you have been given". It is a call to appreciate that which you have from God
CHENAIShona
Chenai means "Be clean, be hygienic or come out clean"
CHÉRIFArabic (Maghrebi), Western African
Maghrebi and Western African transcription of Sharif, influenced by French orthography.
CHETRITJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Form of Shitrit used by French and North African Jews.
CHIKOMBOREROShona
CHIKOMBORERO means "a blessing".
CHIROTOShona
Meaning unknown.
CHIWESHEShona
Meaning unknown.
CHOURAQUIJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
North African Jewish surname meaning "the one who comes from the east", ultimately from Arabic شَرْقِيّ (šarqiyy) meaning "eastern". It is etymologically related to Cherkaoui.
CILLIËRSAfrikaans
Brought to South Africa by settlers of French decent some time in the past 300 years. Sometimes also a given name for boys.
COULIBALYWestern African, Manding
Meaning uncertain. One popular folk etymology suggests that it is derived from Bambara kulun-bari meaning "without a canoe", referring to someone who crossed a river or other body of water without the use of a canoe... [more]
DAHMANIArabic (Maghrebi), Berber
From the given name Dahmane (chiefly Algerian and Moroccan).
DAMBUDZOShona
Dambudzo means "that which causes suffering or trouble". #The Zimbabwean writer, Dambudzo Marechera is a famous bearer of this name".
DANGAREMBGAShona
Meaning unknown.
DAREGONigerian (Rare)
Meaning unknown.
DE BEERAfrikaans
De Beer is a Dutch and Afrikaans surname, meaning "the bear"
DE BRUYNAfrikaans
"Bruyn" is an archaic spelling of "bruin", meaning "brown"
DE KOCKAfrikaans
Means "The Cook"
DERESSEAmharic, Ethiopian
From the given name Deresse or Deressa.
DIALLOWestern African
A common name throughout West Africa, it is the French transcription of a surname of Fula origin.
DJABOUArabic (Maghrebi), Central African
Meaning unknown. A bearer is Abdelmoumene Djabou (1987-), an Algerian footballer.
DJOKOTOAfrican
from Togo Lome, Vogan in west Africa from the djokoto family.
DOLFAfrican
DOLF FSMILY OF CAPE TOWN
DORKENOOAkan
Meaning unknown.
DUBENdebele, Zulu
It means Zebra. It is usually a surname instead of a person's name used by Zimbabwean Ndebele people and South African Zulu people.... [more]
DUDZAIShona
Dudzai means "Speak it out, confess it".
DU PLESSISAfrikaans, French Creole, French (Cajun), French (Huguenot)
French topographic name for someone who lived by a quickset fence, Old French pleis (from Latin plexum past participle of plectere ‘plait’, ‘weave’), with fused preposition and definite article du ‘from the’... [more]
DWAMENAAkan
Meaning unknown.
EJIOFORIgbo, Nigerian
A famous bearer of this surname is Chiwetel Ejiofor, a British actor of Nigerian and Igbo descent.
ELBAZJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Variant transcription of Albaz used by Moroccan Sephardic Jews.
EL BECHIRWestern African
Means "the Bechir", derived from the given name Bashir. This surname is mainly used in Mauritania.
ELHASSANNorthern African, Arabic
From Arabic حَسُنَ (ḥasuna) meaning "to be good, to be beautiful" (chiefly Sudanese).
ELMALEHJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Moroccan Jewish surname derived from Arabic مالح (malîh) either meaning "good, handsome, charming" or "salty, savoury".
ELMALIKNorthern African, Arabic
From Arabic الْمَالِك (al-mālik) meaning "the king" or "the owner" (chiefly Sudanese).
EL MOCTARWestern African
Derived from the given Moctar, a variant of Mokhtar. A bearer is Jidou El Moctar (1985–), a Mauritanian runner.
ENGELBRECHTAfrikaans
The name Engelbrecht has multiple translations, including "Angle Glorious" and "Bright Angel".
ETIENAMNigerian, Ibibio (?), Spanish (Caribbean, ?)
This is a name which originates from the Calabar/Akwa Ibom region of southeastern Nigeria. It means "a doer of good, or benevolent". It is also found in Spanish-speaking regions of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba (El Oriente) which have populations of people of Ibibio/Efik decent known as "Carabali".
FARAIShona
Farai means "Rejoice, be happy".
FOURIEAfrikaans
Originates from French Huguenot settlers
GADDAFIArabic (Maghrebi), Northern African
From the name of an Libyan Berber tribe named Qadhadhfa, possibly meaning "thrower, archer" from Arabic قَذَفَ (qaḏafa) meaning "to throw". A famous bearer was Muammar Gaddafi (1942–2011), a Libyan politician and revolutionary.
GRIGAHCINEBerber (Rare, ?)
Meaning unknown, perhaps of Kabyle origin. A known bearer is DJ Snake, who was born William Grigahcine (1986-), an Algerian-French musician.
GWINYAIShona
Gwinyai means "be strong".
GYASIAkan
Meaning unknown.
HALICHEBerber, Northern African
Variant transcription of Halliche.
HALLICHEBerber, Northern African
Kabyle surname of unknown meaning.
HAMADACHEBerber, Northern African
Kabyle surname derived from the Arabic given name Hamada.
HATENDIShona
Meaning unknown.
IMAMBengali (Muslim), Urdu, Indian (Muslim), Nigerian, Arabic, Indonesian
From Arabic إِمَام (ʾimām) meaning "leader, guide", used to denote a leader within a Muslim community.
ISHEANESUShona
Isheanesu means "The Lord is with us".
IWUCHUKWUIgbo, African
It means God's covenant is unwavering. This name is a bearer is a testimony of God's command. This ia a Christian name.
IZEMBerber, Northern African
From the given name Izem, directly taken from the Tamazight word ⵉⵣⴻⵎ (izem) meaning "lion".
JALLOHWestern African
Probably a derivative of Arabic Jalil.
JEDOUWestern African
Found in Mauritania.
JEYIShona
Porcupine. Wamambo. Strong, Courageous, Joyful and loving.
JLASSIArabic (Maghrebi), Berber
From the name of an Tamazight (Berber) tribal confederation in Tunisia; the name could be from Arabic إِخْلَاص (ʾiḵlāṣ) meaning "sincerity, devotion, loyalty" or of unknown Berber meaning.
JOOFSerer
The surname Joof (English spelling in Gambia) whit its derivatives Juuf / Juf (Seereer proper) or Diouf (French spelling in Senegal and Mauritania) is a Senegambian surname found amongst the Seereer people of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania... [more]
JUMASwahili, Arabic
From the given name Juma.
KABIRBengali (Muslim), Nigerian, Pakistani, Indian (Muslim), Afghani, Persian
From the Arabic كَبِير (kabīr) meaning "big, large, great" (see Akbar).
KHALIFSomali
Somali form of Khalifa.
KHUMALOZulu, Ndebele, South African
Zulu and Ndebele clan name meaning "descendant of the fish tribe".
KYAGUMBOShona
Meaning unknown.
KYEKYEKUAkan
Meaning unknown.
LEBNAEthiopian
Means "spirit, essence" in Amharic.
LELLOUCHEJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Algerian Sephardic surname derived from Tamazight alûsh meaning "lamb".
LOUWAfrikaans
Louw is a surname that has pre 7th century Germanic origins. It is a Dutch/Flemish variant on the word Lowe, meaning Lion.
LUYIMBAZIEastern African
This name is given to males belonging to 'Nkima' (Monkey) clan in Buganda kingdom, Uganda.
MAHALAHAfrican
zambian (tumbuka) name meaning intelligent. "mwana wa mahalah" means intelligent child
MAHARAJSouth African, Indian, Trinidadian Creole, Fijian
Means "great king, great ruler", from Sanskrit महा (mahā) meaning "great, large, big" combined with राज (rāja) meaning "king, sovereign". It is also found among Indian communities abroad.
MAJANGEShona
Meaning unknown.
MALICKIndian, Bengali, Pakistani, Western African
From the Arabic ملك (malik) meaning "king, sovereign, monarch" (see Malik (1)), used by Indian Hindus and Muslims.
MAOULOUDWestern African
Derived from Arabic مولود‎‎ (mawlud) meaning "born, newborn", used to refer to the مولد (Mawlid) observance of the birth of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (chiefly Mauritanian).
MATHEMAShona
Meaning unknown.
MAWEREShona
Meaning unknown.
MAXAMEDSomali
Somali form of Muhammad.
MAZIGHArabic (Maghrebi), Berber
Derived from Arabic أَمَازِيغ (ʾamāzīḡ) the Arabic designation for the Berber (Amazigh) people of North Africa. The word itself is ultimately of Tamazight origin, from Central Atlas Tamazight ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ (Amaziɣ) of disputed meaning; in modern Central Atlas Tamazight, it means “free-man”.
MBANGWAShona
Meaning unknown.
M'BARECKWestern African
Derived from Arabic مُبَارَك (mubārak) meaning "blessed, fortunate, lucky" (chiefly Mauritanian).
M'BEIRICKWestern African
Most likely a variant of M’Bareck.
MBOTOAfrican
Last name of a character from Australian soap opera, Home and Away. This is the last name of character Stephanie Mboto, duration 1996-97.
MENSAHAfrican, Ghanaian
This is a very common last name in Ghana.
MESSIAfrican, Arabic, Italian
Famous bearer of this surname is Lionel Messi (born 1987-), an Argentinian footballer of Italian descent.
MESSOUDWestern African
From the given name Mas'ud; used in Mauritania.
MEZIANEBerber, Northern African
From the given name Meziane (chiefly Algerian and Moroccan).
MIKELEnglish, Nigerian
From the given name Mikel.
MIRGHANINorthern African, Arabic
Sudanese name of unknown Arabic meaning.
MOHAMEDArabic, Malay, Somali
Variant transcription of Muhammad.
MOKRANIBerber, Northern African, Arabic (Maghrebi)
Either from the given name Mokrane or derived from El Mokrani, a town in Algeria.
MOMBESHORAShona
Meaning unknown.
MOPANTOKOBOGOZulu
From Zulu meaning "big man".
MOYOShona
Meaning unknown.
MUDZURIShona
Meaning unknown.
MUFAROShona
Mufaro means "Joy, happiness". It is a name of rejoicing
MUNISIEastern African
Found in Tanzania.
MUSHOHWEShona
Meaning unknown.
MUZOREWAShona
Meaning unknown.
MWARUWARIShona
Meaning unknown.
MWEUSHIAfrican
salute to a king or chief spokesman.literally means "your excellency" or "your majesty". and is usually followed by another name and not used alone.
NAIDOOSouth African, Southern African
In 2014, this was the most common surname in South Africa.
NENGETiv
Means, "see".
NENGOMASHAShona
Meaning unknown.
ODERASAKYoruba (Rare)
It is Yoruba mispronunciation of the the name Oscar. It was a middle name that became a last name.
ODIGEFrench, African
A Name from french Odige (O.DI Zeouf) zeouf with means egg Zeouf is spelled as ge to shorten the name. This surname means fighter The French has been known to be Lovely and the language of love un-violent... [more]
ODOEMENENigerian
Odoemene roots from Nigeria. It has branched onward to America, and multiple other countries. It literally means 'yellow reluctance' in Igbo.
OGYAMPAHAkan
Meaning unknown.
OHAYONJudeo-Spanish, Northern African
Means "son of Chayyim" from the Berber prefix ou- or au- meaning "son (of)" combined with the Hebrew given name Chayyim.
OLATUNJIYoruba
"Olatunji" is a Yoruba surname and a given name meaning "Wealth awakes again".
ONAIShona
Onai means "See, observe". #It is a name that calls the hearer to see or observe that which happened".
ONGAIShona
It is a form of the Shona name Vongai.
ONYILOGWUNigerian (Rare), Igbo (Rare)
Possibly means "he who is invulnerable to dark magic" in Igbo.
OOSTHUIZENSouth African
Came from a village in the Dutch province of North Holland.
OSEIWestern African
Very popular surname in Ghana.
OUAHMEDBerber, Northern African
Kabyle name meaning "son of Ahmed", from the Berber prefix ou- meaning "son (of)" combined with the Arabic name Ahmed (chiefly Algerian).
OUBEIDWestern African
Mauritanian variant of Obeid (see Ubayd).
OUYAHIABerber, Northern African
Means "son of Yahia", from the Berber prefix ou- meaning "son (of)" combined with the Arabic given name Yahia (chiefly Algerian).
ỌYÁWÁLÉYoruba, Nigerian
Means "the river goddess came home" in Yoruba.
OYIAKWANAkan
Meaning unknown.
OYINVWIUrhobo
A name from the history of the urhobo culture. It's been noted that the name indicate strength and is the name attached to it. The important vice of the tradition. Leads trivial matters in hope for liberty.
POPOOLAYoruba
"The way of the rich man" or "The way of prosperity"
QUARTEYWestern African, Ga
Ga surname of unknown meaning.
RAJKOOMARMauritian Creole, South African
Variant of Rajkumar used by Mauritian and South African Indians.
RAMADHANISwahili, Indonesian
From Arabic رَمَضَان (ramaḍān), the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a period of fasting for Muslims.
RAMPERSADTrinidadian Creole, South African, Mauritian Creole
Trinidadian surname of Indian Hindu origin; from Sanskrit राम (rāma) meaning "pleasing, pleasant, charming" combined with प्रसाद (prasāda) meaning "clearness, brightness, purity".
RANGARIRAIShona
Rangarirai means "Remember, think over, consider".
RUFAROShona
It is a form of the Shona name Mufaro.
SAKYIAkan
Meaning unknown.
SARPEIAkan
Meaning unknown.
SAYYIDSwahili, Muslim
From the Arabic honourific title سَيِّد (sayyid) which means "master, lord, prince, mister".
SELASSIEEthiopian, Amharic, Western African
Possibly means "trinity" in Amharic. A notable bearer was Haile Selassie (1892-1975), the regent and emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974.
SESAYAfrican, Temne, Loko, Limba, Kuranko
Is a Muslim Surname from Sierra Leone. It is used among many tribes.
SHARIFBengali (Muslim), Urdu, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Indian (Muslim), Persian, Arabic, Somali
From the Arabic title شَرِيف (šarīf) meaning "noble, honoured, excellent", denoting a Muslim ruler, religious leader, or descendant of Muhammad.
SHEIKHIndian (Muslim), Bengali (Muslim), Urdu, Somali, Arabic, Persian, Punjabi
From the Arabic title شَيْخ (šayḵ) meaning "chief, chieftain, head", used as title to denote a political or spiritual leader of a Muslim community.
SIAWAkan
Meaning unknown.
SIDDIGNorthern African, Arabic
Derived from Arabic صَدِيق (ṣadīq) meaning "friend" (chiefly Sudanese).
SIKAAkan
Meaning unknown.
SIRIBOEAkan
Meaning unknown.
SNYMANAfrikaans
Afrikaans version of the German surname Schneider, which is German for tailor.
SOUEIDIWestern African
Mainly found in Mauritania.
SOUEILEMWestern African
Meaning unknown—this surname is mainly found in Mauritania.
TAFARAShona
Tafara means "We are happy or we rejoice". It is a name of rejoicing
TAKYIAkan
Meaning unknown.
TAMAZIGHTBerber, Northern African
Derived from ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵗⵜ (Tamaziɣt), the Berber (Amazigh) name for the collective Berber language family used in North Africa.
TANGARAWestern African, Manding
Malian Bambara surname of unknown meaning.
TASIFAAmharic
Means “hope” in Amharic.
TAWANDAShona
Tawanda means "We have increased or multiplied". #It is a name acknowledging the birth of a child as an increase to the family".
TERSOOTiv
Means, "father's love". Has its history from Tiv origin. Its a common name amongst the Tiv people of Nigeria.
TESFAYEAmharic, Ethiopian
From the given name Tesfaye.
TESHOMEAmharic, Ethiopian
From the given name Teshome.
THERONSouth African, Occitan
South African surname of Occitan origin derived from any of the various locations named Théron or Thérond. The name itself is ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *tur- or Latin torus/thorus meaning "height, elevation"... [more]
TINETARIROShona
Tinetariro means "We have hope". Usually given to declare that we have our hope in God.
TONDERAIShona
Tonderai means "Remember". This name is given as a call to remember a particular event or to remember one's origins.
TRAORÉWestern African, Manding
Manding surname of unknown meaning and etymology. It is a common surname in Western Africa.
TWENEBOAAkan
Meaning unknown.
UMBURTERTiv
Means, "Remember the father". Father also used in the context of God.
UTHMANNigerian
From the given name Uthman.
VAN DEN BERGDutch, Afrikaans, Flemish
Meaning "from the mountain".
VAN DER MERWEDutch, South African
While the name is currently very common in South Africa, it originates in Holland, literally meaning "From the Merwe". The first van der Merwes hail from the Merwede river. The name went to South Africa with the Dutch settlers in 1652.
VAN NIEKERKAfrikaans, Southern African
Topographic name for any of the various locations named Nieuwerkerk in The Netherlands or Nieuwerkerken in Belgium. The name itself means "of the new church" from Dutch van meaning "of" combined with nieuw meaning "new" and kerk meaning "church".
VAN ROOYENAfrikaans
van Rooyen related to van Rooijen, is an Afrikaans and Dutch toponymic surname. May be rooted from the Rhine area of the Netherlands, possibly having meant "from Rhine" originally. Now a fairly common surname through out South Africa after being brought to Southern Africa by Dutch settlers over the past 300 years, often with variations on spelling but said in the same or a similar way.
VERWEYDutch, Afrikaans, South African
Contracted form of van der Weij meaning "from the meadow".
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