Dean of Humanities, Prof. Kessi awarding the Distinguished Teacher Award to Prof. Pande at the Graduation Ceremony, July 2021

Dean of Humanities awarding the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2021

UCT Annual Awards celebrations. 2020.

Fast forward to 31minutes in for Distinguished teacher awards, and 36 minutes for Amrita Pande.

SABC interview with Amrita Pande, 2019


Tebogo Monama, The Star. 2020. “Young Afrikaans women travelling around the world to sell their eggs…”

Johanneburg – Young South African women have become part of the thriving global fertility market by selling their eggs to people desperate to have children and pocketing up to R50 000.


Carla Bernardo, 2020, Distinguished teacher Amrita Pande’s classroom is her theatre

A sought-after supervisor, an active researcher and a highly skilled teacher; a leader on administrative matters in the Faculty of Humanities and the co-head of the Department of Sociology; a mother of two, juggling remote teaching while homeschooling her children during lockdown – these are just some of the many roles of Associate Professor Amrita Pande.


Ambre Nicolson. 2019. Flows in the Global Fertility Market, Issue 4

What does the global fertility industry reproduce – apart from babies? Associate Professor Amrita Pande, a sociologist and feminist ethnographer at the University of Cape Town (UCT), seeks to answer this central question through her research on the global fertility market.

Revisiting surrogacy in India: domino effects of the ban

In this paper I use a multi-scalar approach to understand the full repercussions of a national ban on the transnational practice of surrogacy in India. I use my ethnographic findings to analyse the effects of the ban on the local  and the national. At the level of the local I revisit a surrogacy clinic and hostel in India, after a decade of my first ethnographic research,  to argue that despite the legal upheavals, not much has changed for the gestational mothers themselves. The rigid discipline structure and the ambiguities around contract, payment and post-natal care remain intact. There is, however, a noticeable dissipation in the gestational mothers’ demands for change in part due to a management’s strategy of manufacturing consent and loyalty.  At the national level as India moves from specialising in babies “Made in India” to “Make in India”, its role in the reproductive assembly line is transformed, with repercussions for gestational mothers.  In the concluding remarks,  I propose an alternative to the current debates by offering surrogacy as a praxis for opening up discussions around feminisms and transnational feminisms.

De(coding) “Loose women” in colonial archives, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Special Issue celebrating Professor Ari Sitas

Loose women are those whose behaviour and lifestyles do not fit the gendered norm of dependency and male patronage. Despite the elusive nature of the adjective “loose”, loose women are often visualized as sexually unrestrained, who need to be codified and controlled. The looseness of this category, and yet its strategic and historical use to restrain women, is curiously under-analyzed. I compare the history of the codification of loose native women as “prostitutes” in British Colonial Africa (with a particular focus on South Africa and the Cape Colony), and India to understand the impact of this codification on not just the women themselves, but also the underlying power of colonial archives in rewriting women’s identities. I further argue that the codification of prostitution was, not just a reflection of colonial sexual anxieties but more the need to restrain the autonomy of working (native) women, at large, which was perceived as both a moral and economic threat to colonial order.  Colonial laws had a twin effect of controlling morality and (gendered) labour markets, by restricting women to the home or to labour markets deemed legitimate for their gender and race.


Surrogatmödrar till salu. Dokumentärpjäs aktualiserar frågan om människan har rätt att föra vidare sina gener



”Bebisfabriker” – ingen enkel fråga



Barnlängtan över alla gränser. Surrogatmödraskap har blivit en lukrativ business som bygger på ekonomisk ojämlikhet. Men när ett unikt forskningsprojekt blir teater handlar det lika mycket om barnlöshet och om det efterlängtade barnet.

“Indexing Transformation” Public lecture at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, 2017.


Women’s work, food and reproductive labour: a snapshot of gender equality research at UCT

Every year on 9 August we celebrate Women’s Day in commemoration of the 1956 Women’s March, when thousands of women marched to Pretoria to protest against apartheid pass laws. Now, 64 years later, gender equality might be enshrined in our constitution but women in South Africa still face deeply embedded gender inequalities that affect their access to healthcare, education and new technology. Researchers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are working to better understand the ongoing challenges that women face as well as the ways where the COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected women’s lives.


Are surrogate and IVF babies ‘essential’ in a pandemic? Mail and Guardian May 22

A recent New York Times article heightened the sense of dystopia of the world that we seem to be currently inhabiting. According to the article, thousands of babies born to surrogate mothers will be left “stranded” in Ukraine because coronavirus pandemic-related travel bans prevent their parents — from all over the world  — from fetching them.

Visa stamps for injections: Traveling Bio-labour and South African egg provision, Gender and Society

I discuss cross-border egg provision by young South African women as a form of traveling biolabor that is critically about embodiment, and  aspirations for mobility and cosmopolitanism. The frame of biolabor challenges the frames of altruism/commodification, and choice/coercion, and instead highlights the desires of egg providers, fundamental to the creation and maintenance of the global fertility market. When biolabor crosses borders as traveling biolabor, the analysis can focus on the specificities of inequalities embedded within such reproductive mobility. Traveling or mobility is often a privileged decision and connotes freedom and cultural capital. Yet, when applied to young white egg providers from South Africa, this traveling biolabor relies on a particular kind of biopolitics wherein the reproductive potential of ova/egg is fundamental in facilitating women’s cross-border mobility. I divide the findings sections into three key themes—“cosmopolitan competency,” “alternatives to maternity,” and “productive pain”—to argue that, on the one hand, from recruitment of traveling egg providers to their (self) management, this biolabor is built on the young women’s aspirations for cosmopolitanism. Traveling biolabor  becomes a way to escape the normative expectations of their (primarily rural, conservative) families and the (Afrikaner) national project of the volksmoeder (mother of the nation).  On the other hand, the pursuit of these aspirations is critically contingent on management successfully reframing the embodied pain of egg provision as well as the biolaborer’s own maternity. Laborers’ desires and management disciplining tactics converge to sustain the global fertility market.

From Boom to A Ban:Transnational Commercial Surrogacy In India.

Revista Española de Derecho Constitucional (Peer Reviewed Spanish Journal), special issue on surrogacy


Dagen 2

Surrogatmödrar till salu. Dokumentärpjäs aktualiserar frågan om människan har rätt att föra vidare sina gener



Drama om barnlängtan. Kristianstad. Surrogatmödraskap har blivit en lukrativ business som bygger på ekonomisk ojämlikhet. Men när ett unikt forskningsprojekt blir teater handlar det lika mycket om barnlöshet och om det efterlängtade barnet. Imorgon spelas den i Kristianstad.



Barnlängtan över alla gränser Teater. unikt forskningsprojekt om surrogatmödraskap i indien på scenen l till uppsala i november


Televised Public debate on International Surrogacy Laws

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