The top baby names in South Africa for 2014


If you named your girl Iminathi, Minenhle and Rethabile in the last two years, you picked one of the top 3 names for girls in South Africa, according to the latest Statistics South Africa’s Recorded Live Births Report (published in September 2015).

The most popular names for boys registered are Junior, Bandil and Kungawo. Bear in mind, says Statistician General Pali Lehohla, that a child could be named Junior before he has been named. 

With the previous census results in 2011, the top baby names in South Africa were Elizabeth for girls and Sibusiso for boys.

*See our lists of weird and wonderful names.

* NEW: South Africa's top baby names for 2016 (added September 2017)

*South Africa's top baby names for 2015.

*Try our South African baby name finder.

Top girls names in South Africa 2014:

1. Iminathi
2. Minenhle (beautiful day, isiZulu)
3. Rethabile (we are glad, Sotho/Sepedi/Setswana)
4. Bokamoso (Sotho/Sepedi/Setswana)
5. Karabo
6. Amogelang (receiving, welcoming, Sesotho/Sepedi/Setswana)
7. Tshegofatso (blessing)
8. Lesedi (light, Sotho/Sepedi/Setswana)
9. Amahle (the ancestors are here)
10. Thandolwethu (our love, isiZulu)

Top boys names in South Africa:

1. Junior
2. Bandile
3. Kungawo
4. Siyabonga 
5. Lethabo (joy, Sesotho/Sepedi/Setswana)

6. Khayone
7. Mpho (gift, Sesotho/Sepedi/Setswana)
8. Bokamoso (the future, Sesotho/Sepedi/Setswana)
9. Kamogelo (acceptance, Sesotho/Sepedi/Setswana)
10. Thato

The report also released the most popular surnames in South Africa:

1. Dlamini
2. Ntulis
3. Ngubane
4. Ndlovu
5. Nkosi
6. Khumalo
7. Ngobeni
8. Mthethwa
9. Zwane
10. Maluleke

Also read: The ABC of Xhosa names illustrated

Also read: ABC of Setswana names by Cape Town artist

Top girls names in the US:

US baby name site Nameberry just announced the top baby names for 2016 so far. And many of the names on the girls list – not so much the boys list – are very familiar in some South African circles too. 

Olivia, Amelia and Charlotte top the list of girls’ names, while the most popular boys’ names are the less familiar Ezra, Asher and Atticus

Surprisingly, the users of US site BabyCentre, with their equally huge database of international babynames, have different favourites. Here, Emma, Olivia and Ava are the favourite girls’ names, with Noah, Liam and Mason coming up tops for the boys.

These websites determine the lists based on the amount of page views each of the names have received during the first 3 months of 2016, having racked up millions of visits so far this year. 


1. Olivia
2. Amelia
3. Charlotte
4. Ava
5. Isla
6. Arabella
7. Aurora
8. Adeline
9. Penelope
10. Eleanor

Arabella, Aurora, Adeline taking over from Cora, Lucy and Evelyn.


The only names here shared with Nameberry are Olivia, Ava, Charlotte, and Amelia. It’s clear that names starting with A are still very popular.

1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Ava
4. Sophia
5. Isabella
6. Mia
7. Charlotte
8. Harper
9. Abigail
10. Amelia
11. Emily
12. Madison
13. Avery
14. Chloe
15. Sofia
16. Lily
17. Aria
18. Ella
19. Evelyn
20. Riley
21. Scarlett
22. Aubrey
23. Layla
24. Elizabeth
25. Ellie

Top boys names in the US:


Nameberry’s boys list isn’t very predicatable.

1. Ezra
2. Asher
3. Atticus
4. Declan
5. Oliver
6. Silas
7. Milo
8. Levi
9. Henry
10. Wyatt

(Jude, Jasper in 2015’s top 10 replaced by Levi and Wyatt)


The Babycentre list, which only echoes Nameberry’s Oliver and Henry, contains more names that ring familiar in South Africa:

1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Mason
4. Ethan
5. Lucas
6. Oliver
7. Aiden
8. Elijah
9. Logan
10. James
11. Benjamin
12. Jacob
13. Jackson
14. Jack
15. Michael
16. Alexander
17. William
18. Gabriel
19. Luke
20. Carter
21. Daniel
22. Owen
23. Matthew
24. Henry
25. Grayson

New popular girls names:

Finally, Nameberry offers a list of the new names on the 100 list. If you pick one of these, you know you’ll be ahead of the trend.

• Amara
• Annabelle
• Anouk
• Freya
• Jade
• Juliet
• Lily
• Madeline
• Molly
• Ophelia
• Phoebe
• Willow
• Zara
• Zoe

The new upcoming popular boys names:

• Abel
• Augustine
• Charles
• Elias
• Gideon
• Hugo
• Isaiah
• Lewis
• Lucian
• Nathan
• Nolan
• Simon
• Wesley

Find a South African baby name:

Parent24's baby name finder has nearly 5,000 names, including Zulu, Xhosa and Seswati names, Pedi, Tswana and Sotho names, Venda, Ndebele, Tsonga, Afrikaans and popular English names. Click here to search a name: 


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