Nothing occurs that has not occurred. -Azania (Xhosa)


A detailed bibliography has been included to reference works and, more essentially, to encourage further exploration and study of African naming and culture.


Adefunmi, O. 1967. African Names from the Ancient Yoruba Kingdom of Nigeria. Sheldon, SC: Great Benin Books.

Akinyela, M. 2008. Eight Bowls Full of Life. Unpublished manuscript.

Alexandre, P. 1967. An Introduction to Languages and Language in Africa.  London, England: Heinemann Educational Books.

Amune, P. 1991. Igarra (Etuno) Names: Origin and Meanings. Nigeria: Amune Printing Press.

Asante, M. 1991. The Book of African Names. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

Babalola, A. 2006. A Dictionary of Yoruba Personal Names. Nigeria: West African Book Publishers.

Beattie, J. 1957. “Nyoro Personal Names.” The Uganda Journal, 21, pp. 99–106.

Bertrand, M., Mullainathan, S. 2003. Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination. Working paper. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved May 28, 2008 from:

Borgenicht, J. 2005. What Not to Name Your Baby. New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment.

Chuks-orji, O. 1978. Names from Africa. Chicago: Johnson Publishing Company.

Clarke, J.H. 1985, November. Education for a New Reality in the African World. Keynote address presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Alliance of Black Educators in Atlanta, Georgia. Retrieved May 10, 2008 from: http://www

Cornevin, R. 1954, Summer. “Names among the Bassari.” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 10 (2), pp. 160–163.

Crane, L. 1982. African Names, People and Places: A Teaching Manual.  Champaign, IL: African Studies Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Damali, N. 1986. Golden Names for An African People. Cedartown, GA: Blackwood Press.

Dinwiddie-Boyd, L. 1994. Proud Heritage: 11001 Names for Your African-American Baby. New York: Avon Press.

Dubois, W.E.B. 1947. The World and Africa: An Inquiry Into the Part Which Africa Has Played in World History. New York: Viking Press.

Ellefson, C. 1990. The Melting Pot Book of Baby Names. White Hall, VA: Betterway Publications.

Enkamit, H. 1993. African Names: The Ancient Egyptian Keys to Unlocking your Power and Destiny. Washington, D.C.: Ser Ap-uat Publishers.

Ennis, E. 1945. “Women’s Names Among the Ovimbundu of Angola.” African Studies, 4 (1), pp. 1–8.

Ezeude, E. 2000. Igbo Names. Pittsburgh: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Fama, C. 1998. 1,000+ (African) Orisa/Yoruba Names. San Bernardino, CA: Ile Orunmila Communications.

Faulkner, B. 1994. What to Name Your African American Baby. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Gordon, R. (Ed.). 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, (15th edition). Dallas: SIL International. Retrieved on June 7, 2008 from:

Gregersen, E. 1977. Language in Africa: An Introductory Survey. New York: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, Inc.
2003. Headstart Book of Afrikan Names. Kingston, Jamaica: Miguel Lorne Publishers.

1965. Hausa Personal Names. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Kapwepwe, M. 2002. Some Bemba Names and Their Meanings. Lusaka, Zambia: Mulenga Kapwepwe.

Karim, Y. 1976. Afrikan Names. Philadelphia: Afram Press.

Keister, L. 1998. The Complete Guide to African American Baby Names. New York: The Penguin Group.

Kimenyi, A. 1989. Kinyarwanda and Kirundi Names: A Semiolinguistic Analysis of Bantu Onomastics. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.

Koopman, A. 2002. Zulu Names. Scottsville, South Africa: University of Natal Press.

Lansky, B. 1991. The Best Baby Name Book in the Whole World. New York: Meadowbrook.

Lewin, A. 1996. Africa is Not a Country: It’s a Continent. Milltown, NJ: Clarendon Publishing Company.

Madubuike, I. 1985. A Handbook of African names. Colorado Springs, CO: Three Continents Press.

Mason, T., and Chewas, S. 1999. Baby Names: Real Names with Real Meanings for African Children. New York: Seaburn Publishing.

Matanda, V. 1998. Naming Your Child Prophetically. Grand Rapids, MI: Herald Publications.

Mbiti, J. 1969. African Religions and Philosophy. New York, NY: Anchor Books.

Mbiti, J. 1972. African Names of God. Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies, 6 (1), pp. 3–14.

McKinzie, H. 1980. Names from East Africa. Los Angeles: McKinzie
Publishing Co.

Moore, R. (1992). The Name “Negro”: Its Origin and Evil Use. Baltimore, MD.: Black Classis Press.

Mthembu-Salter, L. 2002. Call Me by My Name: More than 2000 Xhosa, Zulu, Swazi, and Ndebele Names. Cape Town, South Africa: Kwela Books.

Murgor, K. (2007, May 28). African Names VS. European Names. Kiblog Topical. Retrieved October 10, 2008 from

Musere, J. and Byakutaga, S. 2000. African Names and Naming. Los Angeles, CA: Ariko Publications.

Musere, J. 2000. Traditional African Names. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Njoku, J. 1978. A Dictionary of Igbo Names, Culture and Proverbs. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, Inc.

Nsimbi, M.B. 1980. Luganda Names, Clans and Totems. Pasadena, CA: California Instutute of Technology.

Obadina, E. 2007. Ethnic Groups in Africa. Philadelphia: Mason Crest Publishers.

Odotei, I. 1989. “What is in a Name? The Social and Historical Significance of Ga Names”. Research Review, 5, 2, pp. 34–51.

Oduyoye, M. 1972. Yoruba Names: Their Structure and Meanings. Ibadan, Nigeria: Daystar Press.

Ogbu, O. 1995. African-Igbo Names: How to Choose African Names for Yourself or for Your Loved Ones. Oakland: Boug Publications.

Okojie, C. G. 1980. What is in a Name? Lagos, Nigeria: Alumese Palmer.

Onyefulu, I. 2004. Welcome Dede! An African Naming Ceremony. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

Osuntoki, C. 1970. The Book of African Names. Washington, D.C.: Drum and Spear Press.

Perechi, R. 1996. What’s in a Name: Including African Names and Their Meanings. Oklahoma City, OK: Sina Investigations and Consulting.

Pongweni, A. 1983. What’s In a Name? A Study of Shona Nomenclature. Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press.

Pope, J. 2003, September. Black Names a Resume Burden? The Associated Press. Retrieved on September 29, 2003 from: on 4.11.2008.

Potts, H. 1997. A Comprehensive Name Index for the American Slave. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Ramazani, M. 1995. African Names: Claiming Your True Heritage. Manchester, NH: Montecom Publishing.

Robinson, J. 2001. Pride and Joy: African-American Baby Celebrations. New York: Pocket Books.

Room, A. 1994. African Placenames: Origins and Meanings of the Names for over 2000 Natural Features, Towns, Cities, Provinces and Countries. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company Publishers.

Samaki. 2001. African Names: Reclaim Your Heritage. Cape Town, South Africa: Struik Publishers.

Sanyika, B. 1975. Know and Claim Your African Name. Dayton, OH: Rucker Press Publishing Co.

Saarelma-Maunumaa, M. 2001. Ndalikolule—I was Far Away: Personal names of Wambo Origin in Namibia. Nomina Africana, 15 (1and2), pp. 212–223.

Skhosana, P. B. 2002. “Names and Naming Practices Amongst Southern Ndebele Male Persons.” Nomina Africana, 16 (1and2), pp. 134–145.

Some, S. 1999. Welcoming Spirit Home: Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community. Novato, CA: New World Library.

Stewart, J. 1993. African Names: Names from the African Continent for Children and Adults. New York: Citadel Press.

Stewart, J. 1996. 1001 African Names: First and Last Names from the African Continent. New York: Citadel Press.
1962. Swahili Personal Names. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Tembo, M. 2006. Zambian Traditional Names: The Meaning of Tumbuka, Chewa, Nsenga, Nogoni, and Tonga Names. Lusaka, Zambia: Julubbi Enterprises Limited.

Terrell, F. 1988, January. “The Self-Concept Level of Black Adolescents with and without African Names.” Psychology in the Schools, 25 (1), pp. 65.

2008. The 2008 World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Titanji, V., Gwanfogbe, M., Nwana, E., Ndangam, G. and Lima, A. 1998. An Introduction to the Study of Bali Nyonga. Yaoundé, Cameroon: Stardust Printers.

Van Sertima, I. 1989. Black Women in Antiquity. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

Wescott, R. 1974. “Bini Names in Nigeria and Georgia.” Linguistics, 124, pp. 21–32.

Zawawi, S. 1993. What’s in a Name? Unaitwaje?: A Swahili Book of Names. Trenton, NJ: African World Press.

Zawawi, S. 1998. African Muslim Names: Images and Identities. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.


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