Ghanaian Names: What does your’s mean?

Yewoo da ben?

What day were you born?

Adwoa, Kwadwo, Abena, Kwabena, Akua, Kwaku, Yaa, Yaw, Afua, Kofi, Ama, Kwame, Akosua, Kwesi

The Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast frequently name their children after the day of the week they were born and the order in which they were born.














This tradition is shared throughout West Africa due to Akan Influence, from Benin/Dahomey (Fon) and Togo (Ewe), to the Ga, to other West Africans and throughout the African Diaspora. For example, in Jamaica the following day names have been recorded: Monday, Cudjoe; Tuesday, Cubbenah; Wednesday, Quaco; Thursday, Quao; Friday, Cuffee; Saturday, Quamin; Sunday, Quashee. Most Ghanaians have at least one name from this system. Ghana‘s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was so named for being born on a Saturday (Kwame) and being the ninth born (Nkrumah). Also, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Atta Annan, was so named for being born on a Friday (Kofi) as part of a twin (Atta).

Monday born children are aptly named: Adwoa & Kwadwo

Tuesday born children are named: Abena & Kwabena

Wednesday born children are named: Akua & Kwaku

Thursday born children are named: Yaa & Yaw

Friday born children are named: Afua & Kofi

Saturday born children are named: Ama & Kwame

Sunday born children are named: Aksoua & Kwesi.

If you did not already know just what Adowa, Kwadwo etc means look at the meanings below. Do they relate to your personality?

Kwesi & Akosua – Born leader, guide, protector

Kwadwo & Adowa – Calm,peaceful

Kwabena & Abena – Warrior, fierce, compassionate

Kwaku & Akua – Advocate, controlling

Yaw & Yaa – Confrontational, aggressive

Kofi & Afua – Adventurous, creative, innovative

Kwame & Ama – The ancient wise one.

As previously mentioned, birth order names have equal relevance within Ghanaian (Akan) society.

Males are given the equivalent names of their female counter parts.

First born: Piesie

Second born: Manu (M) Maanu (F)

Third born: Mensa (M) Mansa (F)

Fourth born: Anan (M) Anane (F)

Fifth born: Num (M) Anum (F)

Sixth born: Nisa

Seventh born: Ason (M) Nsowaa (F)

Eighth born: Botwe

Ninth born: Nkroma (M) Nkroma (F)

Tenth born: Badu (M) Baduwaa (F)

Eleventh born: Duku

Twelfth born: Dunu

Last born: Kaakyire


By Caroline N. Mensah