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.
ABDELLAHI     Western African
Derived from the name Abdellah which is a form of Abd Allah. This surname is prevalent in Mauritania.
ABIOYE     Nigerian
From the given name Abioye.
ABOAH     Akan
Meaning unknown.
ABU'D     African
Unkown
AGBAJE     Nigerian, Yoruba
Meaning unknown. A bearer is Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (1967-), an English actor and model of Yoruba Nigerian descent.
AGRINYA     Nigerian (Rare)
Means "warrior" in the Nigerian language of Yala. It was an earned name.
AGU     Igbo
Agu is an Igbo surname; the word Agu means Tiger in Igobo language.
AGUMANU     Igbo, Trinidadian Creole
its an last name and first name that comes from an Igbo tribe in Trinidad
AGYARE     Akan
Meaning unknown.
AGYEI     Akan
Meaning unknown.
AÏT     Berber, Northern African
Derived from Tamazight ⴰⵢⵜ (aït) meaning "son", also commonly used a component for compound names and surnames.
AÏTBRAHIM     Berber, Northern African
Means "son of Brahim", from Tamazight ⴰⵢⵜ (ait) meaning "son" combined with the Arabic given name Brahim.
ALBAZ     Jewish, Northern African
Ashkenazic Jewish name meaning, "falconer" found mainly amongst Jewish peoples emigrating from Algeria and Morocco.
ALIOUN     Western African
Variant of Alioune.
ALIOUNE     Western African
Derived from the given name Ali; used in Mauritania.
AMANKONA     Akan
Meaning unknown.
AMIDANE     Northern 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.
AMISSAH     Akan
Meaning unknown.
ANOTIDAISHE     Shona
Anotidaishe means "the Lord loves us".
ARJWANA     Eastern African
Eastern African
ASANTE     Shona
Meaning unknown.
AXE     African
AZOULAI     Judeo-Spanish, Northern African
Variant transcription of Azoulay.
AZOULAY     Judeo-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".
    Western African
Senegal
BABA     Nigerian, Yoruba, Western African
From an honourific title used to denote a father, wise man, or an elder.
BABIKER     Northern African, Arabic
Possibly from Arabic بَكَرَ (bakara) meaning "first born" or "to be early" (chiefly Sudanese).
BARRY     African
A Guinean surname meaning the family comes from the Peul, Fulani, or Foulbe ethnic groups of West Africa.
BEKKER     Afrikaans
bekker is a regional form of Dutch bakker which means Baker
BENAYOUN     Judeo-Spanish, Northern African
Moroccan Jewish surname meaning "son of Ayoun", based off of an Amazigh (Berber) transcription of the Hebrew personal name Chayyim.
BENHAIM     Jewish, Northern African
Variant of Ben Haim used by the Jews of North Africa.
BENSIMON     Judeo-Spanish, Northern African
Variant of Ben Simon used by the Jews of North Africa.
BENSOUSSAN     Judeo-Spanish, Northern African
Maghrebi Jewish surname meaning "son of Shoshannah".
BOAKYE     Akan
Meaning unknown.
BOLAJI     Nigerian
This surname is very common in Nigeria. Possibly taken from a word in one of the Nigerian tribes languages.
BOTHA     Afrikaans
Botha roughly translates to "son of the leader" in middle dutch
BOUJETTIF     Northern 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."
BOUSHAB     Western African
Used in Mauritania.
BUYS     Afrikaans (Modern)
South Africa, Pretoria
CHAMAPIWA     Shona
Chamapiwa means "that which you have been given". It is a call to appreciate that which you have from God
CHENAI     Shona
Chenai means "Be clean, be hygienic or come out clean"
CHIKOMBORERO     Shona
CHIKOMBORERO means "a blessing".
CHIROTO     Shona
Meaning unknown.
CHIWESHE     Shona
Meaning unknown.
CHOURAQUI     Judeo-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.
COULIBALY     Western 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]
DAHMANI     Arabic (Maghrebi), Berber
From the given name Dahmane (chiefly Algerian and Moroccan).
DAMBUDZO     Shona
Dambudzo means "that which causes suffering or trouble". #The Zimbabwean writer, Dambudzo Marechera is a famous bearer of this name".
DANGAREMBGA     Shona
Meaning unknown.
DAREGO     Nigerian (Rare)
Meaning unknown.
DE BEER     Afrikaans
De Beer is a Dutch and Afrikaans surname, meaning "the bear"
DE BRUYN     Afrikaans
"Bruyn" is an archaic spelling of "bruin", meaning "brown"
DE KOCK     Afrikaans
Means "The Cook"
DERESSA     Ethiopian, Amharic
Variant of Deresse.
DERESSE     Amharic, Ethiopian
From the given name Deresse or Deressa.
DIALLO     Western African
A common name throughout West Africa, it is the French transcription of a surname of Fula origin.
DJABOU     Arabic (Maghrebi), Central African
Meaning unknown. A bearer is Abdelmoumene Djabou (1987-), an Algerian footballer.
DOLF     African
DOLF FSMILY OF CAPE TOWN
DORKENOO     Akan
Meaning unknown.
DUBE     Ndebele, 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]
DUDZAI     Shona
Dudzai means "Speak it out, confess it".
DU PLESSIS     Afrikaans, 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]
DWAMENA     Akan
Meaning unknown.
EJIOFOR     Igbo, Nigerian
A famous bearer of this surname is Chiwetel Ejiofor, a British actor of Nigerian and Igbo descent.
ELBAZ     Jewish, Northern African
Variant of Albaz used by Jews in Morocco.
EL BECHIR     Western African
Means "the Bechir", derived from the given name Bashir. This surname is mainly used in Mauritania.
ELHASSAN     Northern African, Arabic
From Arabic حَسُنَ (ḥasuna) meaning "to be good, to be beautiful" (chiefly Sudanese).
ELMALEH     Jewish, Northern African
Moroccan Jewish surname ultimately derived from Arabic مالح (malîh) either meaning "good, handsome, charming" or "salty, savoury".
ELMALIK     Northern African, Arabic
From Arabic الْمَالِك (al-mālik) meaning "the king" or "the owner" (chiefly Sudanese).
EL MOCTAR     Western African
Derived from the given Moctar, a variant of Mokhtar. A bearer is Jidou El Moctar (1985–), a Mauritanian runner.
ENGELBRECHT     Afrikaans
The name Engelbrecht has multiple translations, including "Angle Glorious" and "Bright Angel".
ETIENAM     Nigerian, 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".
FARAI     Shona
Farai means "Rejoice, be happy".
FOURIE     Afrikaans
Originates from French Huguenot settlers
GADDAFI     Arabic (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.
GADŽO     South Slavic, Akan (Rare)
It is assumed that Gadžo derives from the old-Indian gārhya ("domestic") and means, besides non-Rom, also farmer, villager, head of the house or husband.
GWINYAI     Shona
Gwinyai means "be strong".
GYASI     Akan
Meaning unknown.
HAILEMARIAM     Amharic, Ethiopian
Combination of Haile and Mariam.
HATENDI     Shona
Meaning unknown.
IMAM     Bengali (Muslim), Urdu, Indian (Muslim), Nigerian, Arabic, Indonesian
From Arabic إِمَام (ʾimām) meaning "leader, guide", used to denote a leader within a Muslim community.
ISHEANESU     Shona
Isheanesu means "The Lord is with us".
IWUCHUKWU     Igbo, 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.
IZEM     Berber, Northern African
From the given name Izem, directly taken from the Tamazight word ⵉⵣⴻⵎ (izem) meaning "lion".
JALLOH     Western African
Probably a derivative of Arabic Jalil.
JEDOU     Western African
Found in Mauritania.
JLASSI     Arabic (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.
JOOF     Serer
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]
KABIR     Bengali (Muslim), Nigerian, Pakistani, Indian (Muslim), Afghani, Persian
From the Arabic كَبِير (kabīr) meaning "big, large, great" (see Akbar).
KYAGUMBO     Shona
Meaning unknown.
KYEKYEKU     Akan
Meaning unknown.
LEBNA     Ethiopian
Means "spirit, essence" in Amharic.
LELLOUCHE     Jewish, Northern African
North African Jewish derived from Tamazight alûsh meaning "lamb" (chiefly Algerian).
LOUW     Afrikaans
Louw is a surname that has pre 7th century Germanic origins. It is a Dutch/Flemish variant on the word Lowe, meaning Lion.
LUYIMBAZI     Eastern African
This name is given to males belonging to 'Nkima' (Monkey) clan in Buganda kingdom, Uganda.
MAHALAH     African
zambian (tumbuka) name meaning intelligent. "mwana wa mahalah" means intelligent child
MAHARAJ     South 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.
MAJANGE     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MALICK     Indian, Bengali, Pakistani, Western African
From the Arabic ملك (malik) meaning "king, sovereign, monarch" (see Malik (1)), used by Indian Hindus and Muslims.
MALIK     Indian (Muslim), Odia, Bengali (Muslim), Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Arabic, Indonesian, Nigerian
From the Arabic ملك (malik) meaning "king, sovereign, monarch" (see Malik (1)).
MAOULOUD     Western 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).
MATHEMA     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MAWERE     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MBANGWA     Shona
Meaning unknown.
M'BARECK     Western African
Derived from Arabic مُبَارَك (mubārak) meaning "blessed, fortunate, lucky" (chiefly Mauritanian).
M'BEIRICK     Western African
Most likely a variant of M’Bareck.
MENSAH     African, Ghanaian
This is a very common last name in Ghana.
MESSI     African, Arabic, Italian
Famous bearer of this surname is Lionel Messi (born 1987-), an Argentinian footballer of Italian descent.
MESSOUD     Western African
From the given name Mas'ud; used in Mauritania.
MEZIANE     Berber, Northern African
From the given name Meziane (chiefly Algerian and Moroccan).
MIRGHANI     Northern African, Arabic
Sudanese name of unknown Arabic meaning.
MOKRANI     Berber, Northern African, Arabic (Maghrebi)
Either from the given name Mokrane or derived from El Mokrani, a town in Algeria.
MOMBESHORA     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MOPANTOKOBOGO     Zulu
From Zulu meaning "big man".
MOUSSA     Western African, Arabic (Egyptian), Central African
Derived from the given name Moussa (see Moses).
MOYO     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MUDZURI     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MUFARO     Shona
Mufaro means "Joy, happiness". It is a name of rejoicing
MUNISI     Eastern African
Found in Tanzania.
MUNISSI     Eastern African
Variant of Munisi.
MUSHOHWE     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MUZOREWA     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MWARUWARI     Shona
Meaning unknown.
MWEUSHI     African
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.
NAIDOO     South African, Southern African
In 2014, this was the most common surname in South Africa.
NENGE     Tiv
Means, "see".
NENGOMASHA     Shona
Meaning unknown.
ODERASAK     Yoruba (Rare)
It is Yoruba mispronunciation of the the name Oscar. It was a middle name that became a last name.
ODIGE     French, 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]
ODOEMENE     Nigerian
Odoemene roots from Nigeria. It has branched onward to America, and multiple other countries. It literally means 'yellow reluctance' in Igbo.
OGYAMPAH     Akan
Meaning unknown.
OLATUNJI     Yoruba
"Olatunji" is a Yoruba surname and a given name meaning "Wealth awakes again".
OMAR     Arabic, Somali, African, Malaysian, Pakistani, Bengali (Muslim), Muslim
From the Arabic given name Omar.
ONAI     Shona
Onai means "See, observe". #It is a name that calls the hearer to see or observe that which happened".
ONGAI     Shona
It is a form of the Shona name Vongai.
ONYANGO     Luo
OOSTHUIZEN     South African
Came from a village in the Dutch province of North Holland.
OSEI     Western African
Very popular surname in Ghana.
OUBEID     Western African
Mauritanian variant of Obeid (see Ubayd).
OYIAKWAN     Akan
Meaning unknown.
POPOOLA     Yoruba
"The way of the rich man" or "The way of prosperity"
RAMPERSAD     Trinidadian 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".
RANGARIRAI     Shona
Rangarirai means "Remember, think over, consider".
RUFARO     Shona
It is a form of the Shona name Mufaro.
SAKYI     Akan
Meaning unknown.
SARPEI     Akan
Meaning unknown.
SELASSIE     Ethiopian, 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.
SESAY     African, Temne, Loko, Limba, Kuranko
Is a Muslim Surname from Sierra Leone. It is used among many tribes.
SHALADI     Arabic (Maghrebi), Northern African
Possibly related to Arabic شَلَّال (šallāl) meaning "waterfall" (chiefly Libyan).
SHEBANI     Arabic (Maghrebi), Northern African
From the name of an Arab tribe which in turn is derived from Arabic شيب (šīb) meaning "white hair, grayness" or "cold, snow" (chiefly found in Libya).
SHEIKH     Indian (Muslim), Bengali (Muslim), Urdu, Somali, Arabic, Persian, Punjabi
From the Arabic title شَيْخ (šayḵ) meaning "chief, chieftain, head", used as title for a political or spiritual leader of a Muslim community.
SIAW     Akan
Meaning unknown.
SIDDIG     Northern African, Arabic
Derived from Arabic صَدِيق (ṣadīq) meaning "friend" (chiefly Sudanese).
SIKA     Akan
Meaning unknown.
SINCADU     South African (Rare)
Mzimkhulu, Bhaca
SIRIBOE     Akan
Meaning unknown.
SNYMAN     Afrikaans
Afrikaans version of the German surname Schneider, which is German for tailor.
SOUEIDI     Western African
Mainly found in Mauritania.
SOUEILEM     Western African
Meaning unknown—this surname is mainly found in Mauritania.
SOW     Wolof
TAFARA     Shona
Tafara means "We are happy or we rejoice". It is a name of rejoicing
TAKYI     Akan
Meaning unknown.
TAMAZIGHT     Berber, Northern African
Derived from ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵗⵜ (Tamaziɣt), the Berber (Amazigh) name for the collective Berber language family used in North Africa.
TANGARA     Western African, Manding
Malian Bambara surname of unknown meaning.
TAWANDA     Shona
Tawanda means "We have increased or multiplied". #It is a name acknowledging the birth of a child as an increase to the family".
TERSOO     Tiv
Means, "father's love". Has its history from Tiv origin. Its a common name amongst the Tiv people of Nigeria.
TESHOME     Amharic, Ethiopian
From the given name Teshome.
THERON     South 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]
TINETARIRO     Shona
Tinetariro means "We have hope". Usually given to declare that we have our hope in God.
TONDERAI     Shona
Tonderai means "Remember". This name is given as a call to remember a particular event or to remember one's origins.
TRAORÉ     Western African, Manding
Manding surname of unknown meaning and etymology. It is a common surname in Western Africa.
TWENEBOA     Akan
Meaning unknown.
UMBURTER     Tiv
Means, "Remember the father". Father also used in the context of God.
UTHMAN     Nigerian
From the given name Uthman.
VAN DEN BERG     Dutch, Afrikaans, Flemish
Meaning "from the mountain".
VAN DER MERWE     Dutch, 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 NIEKERK     Afrikaans
Afrikaans surname of Dutch origin used as a 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 "of, nieuw "new", and kerk "church".
VERWEY     Dutch, Afrikaans, South African
Contracted form of van der Weij meaning "from the meadow".
VIMBAI     Shona
Vimbai means "Have hope, trust". It is a call to have hope or to trust in
VONAI     Shona
It is a form of the Shona name Onai.
VONGAI     Shona
Vongai means "be thankful, or appreciative".
WADZANAI     Shona
Wadzanai means "Have fellowship, visit each other, be on good terms". The name may be given as a call to family to come together in fellowship, visiting and being on good terms
WEPENER     South African, German
South African, German decent/history
WIREDU     Akan
Meaning unknown.
WONAI     Shona
It is a form of the Shona name Onai.
WONGAI     Shona
It is a form of the Shona name Vongai
XX     Western African
Last name found in the African country Burkina Faso.
YEUKAI     Shona
Yeukai means "Remember". This name is given as a call to remember a particular event or to remember one's origins.
YOST     American, Dutch, Afrikaans
Americanized spelling of Dutch surname Joost or German surname Jost
ZADZISAI     Shona
Zadzisai means "you must fulfil - a pledge or promise". The name is given as a reminder to fulfil a pledge or promise.
ZANAMWE     Southern African
Zimbabwean Surname, originally from the Chivi area, shona speaking people of the Shumba(lion) totem originate from the Masvingo province, Mwenezi, Chitanga,Chikombedzi, Boli Chibwedziva. Some migrated to the Mashonaland East province Mhondoro area and assumed the Moyo(heart) totem
ZEIDANE     Western African
Mauritanian variant of Zidane.
ZIVAI     Shona
Zivai means "you must know".
ZIVANAI     Shona
Zivanai means "You must know each other". #This name is a call to family and relatives to get to know each other by visiting and fellowship - usually so that they do not drift apart"
ZORORO     Shona
Zororo means "rest". #It may be given to mean that the parent has rested after the birth of this child". Zimbabwean politician Zororo Duri was a well known bearer of this name.
ZOUAOUI     Arabic (Maghrebi), Berber
Derived from French zouave, in turn from Arabic الزواويون (al-zuwâwiyun), referring to a member one of the Algerian Kabyle tribes of Zuwâwa (also spelled Zouaoua; known as the ⵉⴳⴰⵡⴰⵡⵏ (Igawawen) in Tamazight)... [more]
ZUVA     Shona
Zuva means "sun or day".
ZVAITIKA     Shona
Zvaitika means "It has happened". This name may be given as a celebration that something that was desired or awaited has finally happened.
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