Abena Ayivor was born on February 25, 1975, in Kitwe, Zambia, to a Zambian mother and a Ghanaian father. At the age of five, her family moved to Lesotho before settling in Butterworth, in the former Transkei, where she completed her formal education. Abena grew up in a large family with seven siblings.
Initially, Abena studied for a BA degree in law at the University of Cape Town. However, she decided to change her path and completed a two-year diploma in Drama and Presentation at City Varsity. She moved to Johannesburg in 1999.
Abena Ayivor is best known for playing the regular character Lerato in the South African soap opera Generations from 1999 to 2003. Over the years, she has appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Machine Gun Preacher (2011), The Good Lie (2014), and The Dinosaur Project (2012). In 2016, she played Ella Khama in the drama film A United Kingdom.
Apart from her acting career, Abena is also a writer.