Maragoli Names and Meaning

Maragoli Names and Meaning

Maragoli personal name formation is semantically motivated. A sizeable number of Maragoli names have meaning: For example: Ilamenya: literally means-inhabitant/stay/live, Bwosi: means “all” in Kiswahili it means “wote”, Mwiruki: means one who runs away.

Other Maragoli names originated from man-made as well as natural phenomena such as famine, poverty, wars, seasons, social activities, political activities, etc. On the other hand, most of the Maragoli names are derivates from maragoli verbs, nouns and adjectives. It should be noted that, most of these Maragoli names are shared and cut across all the community’s ages, sexes, and sub-clans.

The naming of the Children and members of the community is therefore an important occasion which is often marked by ceremonies in the community.

Names that mark the occasion of the child’s birth

“Ambura‟: A name for boys that stands for „Rain‟
“Imburani‟: A name for girl that stands for „Rain‟
“Chukumazi‟: Male name given to children born near water mass
„Mugera‟:  A male name mostly given to children born near the River‟
“Inyanza‟:  Also mean lake in English was given to children born near a lake.

Personal names that relate to traveling:

“Mung’aya‟: In English it means “Wanderer”, this was a name given to a child whose mother never settled during her pregnancy.
“Chukunzila”:  Means road. Given to a child who was born along the road.
“Mugeni‟: “Stranger‟

“Kavai‟:  “Wanderer‟ This is a name mostly given to baby girls.

“Kivahiru‟:  “Wanderer‟ A name given to baby boys.
“Nanzila”:  “Roadside‟

“Imbarambara”: “Road” (born during road construction)

Personal names that relate to natural phenomena

“Isigi”: “Locust‟

“Inzala”: “Hunger‟ or “Famine‟

“Tsingungu”: “Army worms‟

“Manyonyi”: “Many birds‟

“Endegure”: “Weevil”

“Mage”: “Termite”

“Tsinjenga”: “Maize particles‟

Names that denote poverty, lack and need:

“Mudaka”: “Poor‟

“Mudavi‟: ‘Condemned’

”Akidiva‟: “Perish‟

“Agusioma‟: “Mourning/weeping‟

“Ambuku‟: “Mole‟

“Adamba‟: “Frustrated‟

“Chahonyo‟: “Naked‟

“Mung’afu‟: “Emaciated‟

“Nanzere‟: “Poor‟

Names that denote seasons: 

“Agesa‟: “Harvest‟

“Misoga‟: “Seeds‟

“Isindu‟: “Birds‟

“Muhizi”: “Hunter‟

“Kihima”: “Hunter‟

“Nang’ame‟: “Milking‟

“Embego‟: “Seeds‟

“Manyonyi‟: “Manyonyi‟

“Anzala”: “Hunger” (born during extreme drought)

Names that describe personality:

“Kahugani‟: “Wonder/Shock/Worry‟

“Agalomba‟: “Organizer‟

“Muhitsi”: “Hunter‟

“Minyovi”: “Straighten‟

“Umugasu”: “Good‟

“Mudidi”: “Clan name‟

“Lugano”: “Story teller‟

“Indizu”: “Eagle‟

“Muyera”: “Choosy‟

“Mangidi”: “Chimpanzee‟

“Davadava”: “Wonderer‟

“Iriko”: “Untidy‟

“Mahonga”: “absentee‟

“Agadonya”: “Talkative‟

“Omega”: “Break”

“Chisisia”: “Darkness‟

“Mudurengani”: “Feeble‟

“Aguvasu”: “Daytime‟

“Aduvaga”: “Troublesome‟

“Enonda”: “Follower‟

“Luvai”: “Tour/Visitor‟

“Osore”: “Peacemaker‟

Children named after the dead:

“Tsimonya‟: “Whispers‟

“Mwenyelitsi‟: “Search‟

“Adala‟: “Lazy wanderer‟

“Akiruga‟: “Loves cooking‟

“Avagarwa‟: “Spread out‟

“Kigaro‟: “Palm‟

“Adembesa‟: “Fibble‟

“Arwanda‟: “Rock‟

“Anusu‟: “Half‟

“Avohebwa‟: “Recipient‟

“Mugata”: “Lazy one‟

“Bunifu‟: “Tidy/Clean‟

“Musiru‟: “Fool‟

“Aguda‟: “Big belly‟

“Chore‟: “Baldness‟

“Kibara‟: “Flat head‟

“Litu‟: “Leaf‟

“Malande”: “Spread‟

“Mululu”: “Hostile‟

“Musumba”: “Bachelor‟

“Arunave”: “Sticky‟

“Omega”: “Break‟

“Mwasiagi”: “Split‟

“Itiilu”: “Pillar‟

Names that relate to state of pregnancy:

“Akweveta”: “Hidden agenda‟

“Akwivisa”: “Hiding‟

“Alusa/Mulusa”: “Crave‟

“Ayuya”: “Turn‟

“Arekwa”: “Left/Abandoned‟

“Atsivirwa”: “Many words‟

“Eregwa/Keregegwa”: “Despised‟

“Mujukane”: “Turn‟

“Mugala”: “Grabber‟

“Sieva”: “Dance”

“Tsimbasi”: “Kicks”

“Ilamenya”: “Inhabitant/Stay”

“Igunza”: “Delay”

“Kavita”: “Pass‟

“Asiena”: “Step on‟

“Asiema”: “Liar‟

“Kaveshi”: “Liar‟

“Jahenda”: “Worry‟

“Isambe”: “Roast/burnt‟

“Kayere”: “Reject/Loss appetite‟

“Mavisi”: “Unripe/raw‟

“Muyera”: “Choosy one‟

“Mwavali”: “Carry/embrace‟

Names that relate to time of day:

“Abudiku”: “at night‟

“Kisundi”: “Darkness”

“Aguvasu”: “Daytime‟

“Chisisia”: “Darkness‟

“Mahagira”: “Dawn‟

Personal names that relate to vegetables:

“Mutere‟: “Okra‟

“Likuvi‟: “Cowpeas”

“Ligaraba‟: “Beans leaves‟

“Misoga‟: “Green beans‟

“Injugu”: “Ground nuts” (born during groundnut harvesting)

“Kabwoni”: “Sweet Potato” (born during sweet potato harvesting)

Personal names from physical features, natural and man-made phenomena:

“Imbalabala‟: “Road‟

“Amunavi‟: “Tailor”

“Agamu‟: “Glue‟

“Irangi‟: “Paint”

“Ijai‟: “Tea”

“Ligare‟: “Train”

“Kisala‟:  “Tree‟

“Angote‟: “Big maize‟

“Muhambe‟: “Captives”

“Mudome‟: “Black beans/Chicken droppings‟

“Siringi‟: “Shillings/coin”

“Keya”: The Luhya boys name Keya is a corruption of the abbreviation KAR meaning The Kings African Rifles. The Kings African Rifles “was a multi-battalion British colonial regiment raised from the various British possessions in East Africa from 1902 until independence in the 1960s.” The name Keya emerged among our great/grandfathers in the early 20th century as Africans were enrolled into service of the British empire following the campaigns of punitive expeditions – such as the War of Chetambe in 1895 – that resulted in subduing of African tribes.

“Msuruve”: (born when a white missionary called Miss Reeves first came to Maragoli land)

It should be noted that, some Maragoli names have particular meanings whereas others do not.



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