The Yoruba, the Gikuyu, and the Zulu of Africa have many interesting names for God. If you are looking for baby names I encourage you consider these names based on African Gods.
The Yoruba of Nigeria, West Africa
The Yoruba of Nigeria, West Africa, have many names for God. Each name seems to describe a certain aspect of the deity.
Olodumare – Olodumare is the most common name for the all powerful God. The name implies that the Deity was born of himself and omnipresent. The Yoruba believe Olodumare is stable, unchanging, permanent, and reliable. Olodumare is also associated with morality and virtue. He gives man the knowledge of these things at birth and therefore everyone is innately moral.
Elemi – Elemi means “the owner of the spirit” to the Yoruba. God as Elemi gives life to man just before birth. Elemi is also believed to control the climatic seasons and movement of heavenly bodies.
Olorun – The Yoruba use the name Olorun, which means sky, to represent the aspect of God that lives in the sky. This symbolizes God’s distance from man and mankind in general.
Olofin-Orun – The “Supreme Sovereign Ruler who is in heaven” goes by the name Olofin-Orun.
Eleda – Eleda is God as the creator.
Oduduwa – Oduduwa is closely associated with Eleda. Oduduwa is female and is perceived as the “essence of cosmic totality.”
The Gikuyu of Kenya, East Africa
The Gikuyu of Kenya, East Africa, have two principal names for God. These names are Ngai and Mwene-Nyuga.
Ngai and Mwene-Nyuga – Ngai is the most common name for God. The Gikuyu, the Masai, and the Wakamba tribes all use the name Ngai. The Gikuyu believe Ngai comes down to earth periodically to check on man. The Gikuyu believe that ancestral family members serve as intercessors between man and Ngai.
The Zulu of Southern Africa
The Zulu have many different names for God. They are iNkost yaphezulu, iNkost yezulu, iNkosi yamaKhosi, uMvelingquani, uMdali, Umenzi, Nkulunkulu, Umpande, uNsondo, uSomandla, uMninimandla, and uGugabadele.
iNkosi yaphezulu and iNkosi yezulu refer to the “Lord of the Sky.”
iNkost – When iNkosi is used alone it means Sky-God.
iNkosi yamaKhosi – iNkosi yamaKhosi is refered to by the Zulu as the Lord of Lords.
The Yoruba, the Gikuyu and the Zulu have many names for God. They all live in the sky and are not limited by space and time. Sometimes she is thought to be female and the essence of cosmic totality. God is thought to be the grand ancestor and creator of man. Any of these names would be great for baby boys or baby girls.
Brown, William A. “Concepts of God in Africa.” Journal of Religious Thought 39.2 (Fall82/Winter83 1982)