Tanya Abrahamse earned a BSc in Biology from University of Zambia; an MSc and DIC in Applied Entomology and Insect Ecology from Imperial College, University of London; and a PhD from the University of Westminster. She has wide management and leadership experience in environmental and developmental policies and processes.
In 1994, she was appointed Chief Director in President Mandela’s Office where she played a key role in the Reconstruction & Development Programme. In 1997, she was appointed Deputy Director-General in the Environment & Tourism Department, where she headed the Resource Use Branch which included Marine and Coastal Management, Biodiversity and Heritage Management, and Tourism. Between 1994 and 2000, she participated in many international engagements representing her country. As head of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (from 2000), she sat on all key tourism bodies, led the Black Economic Empowerment Process and advised on public-private partnership policy development.
She received the African Tourism Achiever Award in 2005 and was her country’s nominee for the post of Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization. In 2007, she was appointed the first CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), a public entity responsible for biodiversity research, policy support, knowledge & information, and the National Botanical Gardens.