50 Unique South African Names and Their Meanings

South African names are as diverse and powerful as the people who make up the region. Over the years, the region has introduced many interesting names, and the list keeps growing yearly. Though some of these names are coined from diverse ethnic backgrounds, they all have powerful meanings.

All the names on our list are unique as they are peculiar to not just one ethnic group. There are multiple names to choose from if you are searching for unique South African names. You would also find the meaning of these names, the tribe, and other fun facts under each name, making it a lot easier for name selection.

Unique South African Names and Their Meanings

South African names

1. Amahle

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: The beautiful one
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu land
  • Pronounced as: Ah-MAH-she

2. Masego

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Blessings
  • Origin: Tswana
  • Most popular in: Tswana

3. Arno

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Eagle
  • Origin: German
  • Most popular among: Afrikaners
  • Pronounced as: AR-nou

4. Ayanda

  • Best suited for: unisex
  • Meaning: They are increasing
  • Origin: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: both the Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele

5. Elna

  • Best suited for: female
  • Meaning: Beloved
  • Origin: Derivative from the Swedish Elin and the Danish and Dutch Helena
  • Most popular among: Afrikaners
  • Pronounced as: ÊLL-nah

6. Friedrich

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Peaceful ruler
  • Origin: Old German
  • Most popular among: Afrikaners
  • Pronounced as: FRED-e-rich

7. Lindiwe

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Waited for
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu
  • Pronounced as: LIN-dee-wê

8. Tsholofelo

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Expectation, Hope
  • Origin: Tswana
  • Most popular in: Tswana

9. Mandla

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Strength
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu
  • Pronounced as: MAN-dhla

10. Imka

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Water
  • Origin: Afrikaans
  • Most popular among: Afrikaners
  • Pronounced as: IEM-ka

11. Jabulani

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Rejoice
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu
  • Pronounced as: Jah-boo-LAH-nee

12. Kaya

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Restful peace
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu
  • Pronounced as: KAH-yah

13. Kgosi

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Chief, King
  • Origin: Tswana
  • Most popular in: Tswana

14. Lerato

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Love
  • Origin: Sotho
  • Most popular in: Zulu
  • Pronounced as: LE-raa-too

15. Simba

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Strength
  • Origin: Shona
  • Most popular in: Shona

16. Luan

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Lion
  • Origin: Afrikaans
  • Most popular in: Afrikaans ethnic group
  • Pronounced as: LU-han

17. Kholwa

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Believe
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: both the Zulu and Ndebele cultures
  • Pronounced as: Col-u-WHA

18. Itumeleng

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Joy
  • Origin: Tswana
  • Most popular in: Tswana

19. Andile

  • Best suited for: unisex
  • Meaning: They have increased
  • Origin: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: both the Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele

20. Thabisa

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: To bring joy
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu
  • Pronounced as: Tha-BEE-sa

21. Bongani

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Thankful, Grateful
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu

22. Nkosazana

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Princess
  • Origin: Xhosa
  • Most popular in: Xhosa

23. Tichaona

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: We will see
  • Origin: Shona
  • Most popular in: Shona

24. Sifiso

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Wish
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu
See also
Interesting Things That Are Most Recognized About The Culture Of The Xhosa People

25. Sizwe

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Nation
  • Origin: Xhosa
  • Most popular in: Xhosa

26. Bandile

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: They have increased
  • Origin: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele

27. Xolani

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Peace
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu

28. Zodwa

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Only Girls
  • Origin: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
  • Fun fact: Zodwa is the short form of Ntombizodwa

29. Themba

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Trust, Hope
  • Origin: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele

30. Sibusisiwe

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: We Are Blessed
  • Origin: Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Ndebele

Amazing South African Names and Their Meanings

South African names

31. Mpho

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Gift
  • Origin: Tswana
  • Most popular among: Tswana people
  • Pronounced as: M-phô
See also
Understanding The Zulu Culture, Traditional Attire & Food

32. Siyabonga

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: We Thank You
  • Origin: Zulu and Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu and Ndebele

33. Sipho

  • Best suited for: Male 
  • Meaning: Gift
  • Origin: Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Xhosa, and Ndebele

34. Tumelo

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Faith
  • Origin: Sotho, Tswana
  • Most popular in: Sotho, Tswana

35. Unathi

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: He or she is with us
  • Origin: Xhosa
  • Most popular in: Xhosa

36. Tariro

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Hope
  • Origin: Shona
  • Most popular in: Shona

37. Sibusiso

  • Best suited for: Male
  • Meaning: Blessed
  • Origin: Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele

38. Buhle

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Beautiful, Handsome
  • Origin: Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Swazi, Ndebele

39. Wanangwa

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Freedom
  • Origin: Tumbuka
  • Most popular in: Tumbuka

south african names

40. Mieke 

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Wished for child
  • Origin: Dutch
  • Most popular among: Afrikaners
  • Pronounced as: MY-khu

41. Bonolo

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Easy
  • Origin: Sotho
  • Most popular in: Sotho

42. Lungile

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Correct, Right, Good
  • Origin: Zulu, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Ndebele

43. Boitumelo 

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Joy
  • Origin: Tswana
  • Most popular in: Tswana

44. Sithembile

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: We Trust
  • Origin: Zulu
  • Most popular in: Zulu

45. Sibongile

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: We Are Thankful
  • Origin: Zulu, Ndebele
  • Most popular in: Zulu, Ndebele

46. Refilwe

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: We were given
  • Origin: Tswana
  • Most popular in: Tswana

47. Puleng

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: In The Rain
  • Origin: Sotho
  • Most popular in: Sotho

48. Rudo

  • Best suited for: Unisex
  • Meaning: Love
  • Origin: Shona
  • Most popular in: Shona

49. Rumbidzai

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Praise
  • Origin: Shona
  • Most popular in: Shona

50. Annika

  • Best suited for: Female
  • Meaning: Grace
  • Origin: Afrikaans
  • Most popular among: Afrikaans people
  • Pronounced as: AHN-nee-ka
  • Fun Fact: Annika is the Swedish diminutive of Anna

Most Common Names In South Africa

  • Johannes
  • Maria
  • Elizabeth
  • David
  •  Anna
  • John
  • Michael
  • Sibongile
  • Johanna
  • Sipho
  • Joseph
  • Bongani
  • Lindiwe
  • Jan
  • Daniel
  •  Martha
  • Busisiwe
  • Sibusiso
  • Thabo
  • Mpho
  • Petrus
  • Patrick
  • Peter
  • Simon
  • Themba
  • Patricia
  • Willem
  • Zanele
  • Jacobus
  • Samuel
  • William
  • Nonhlanhla
  • Hendrik
  • Pieter
    Sarah
  • Thomas
  •  Richard
  • Nkosinathi
  • Jabulani
  • Nokuthula
  • Tebogo
  • Thulani
  • Xolani
  • Johan
  • Linda
  • Andries
  • Zandile
  • Robert
  • George
  • Joyce
  • Mandla
  • James
  • Moses
  • Siyabonga
  • Cynthia
  • Nompumelelo
  • Thandi
  • Andrew
  • Sello
  • Dumisani
  • Nomsa
  • Fikile
  • Jacob
  • Paul
  • Isaac
  • Siphiwe
  • Bongiwe

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