Ex-Miss SA finalist tells of prison hell

Aarti J Narsee

VANESSA Goosen seems like any other ex-Miss SA finalist, strikingly beautiful with long, dark locks.

When meeting her, you would never guess that she spent 16 years in Bangkok’s Lard Yao Prison for drug trafficking.

“When people look at me they see a normal person, but in my own mind I am sometimes lost.”

Goosen, who maintains her innocence, says she was duped into carrying books which were later found to contain 1.7kg of heroin. She was released in 2010.

In her book, Drug Muled: Sixteen years in a Thai Prison, The Vanessa Goosen Story, written by Joanne Joseph, she tells of the birth of her daughter in prison.

Felicia was taken from her at the age of three and sent to South Africa. “Her screaming becomes softer … my entire reason to live is gone,” she says in the book.

Her daughter is now 18. “We are still working on our relationship.”

Goosen, who says her background “has shaped me into a person who wants to deaden other people’s pain”, now gives inspirational talks.

One of her future plans is to study. “I would really like to put those years behind me, and achieve something for myself.”

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