Convicted drug smuggler shares her testimony at mass gathering

Felicia Goosen with her mother, Vanessa.

Convicted drug smuggler and former Miss SA semi-finalist who was arrested for couriering drugs from Thailand to South Africa shared her testimony to a large gathering of Christians, who attended the Jesus for Africa Crusade at the Chatsworth Circus Site, recently.

Goosen still claims that she was wrongfully arrested and convicted. However, a Thailand court found her guilty of contravening the law and she was sentenced to 16 years, six months and 16 days in prison. Born in Port Elizabeth, Goosen was raised in the province of Gauteng, where she lived the dream every young woman aspired. Twenty-one-years-old and pregnant, the iconic model was handed down a lifetime imprisonment after the allegations of drug trafficking.

Goosen claims she was duped to carry four engineering books containing 1, 7kgs of heroin in the front and back compartments of the Hardcover books. “A friend of mine asked me to bring back engineering books he required from his brother who resided in Thailand, and so I did. During the spot check at the airport, I was searched and that is when I realised I was framed with heroin,” she said.

Muddled and agitated, she was unable to communicate in Thai and had no control over the situation. “I tried to tell the policemen that I was pregnant but they did not believe me,” she added.

Goosen was taken to Lard Yao Women Correction Institution. A few months later, she was forced to deliver her daughter in the prison hospital where she was not supplied with the basic necessities of a normal delivery.

“According to the laws of the Thailand prison, I was only allowed to keep my daughter, Felicia Goosen, 22, until she was three and then she had to be released in the care of a guardian. I got into contact with my friend, Melanie Holmes who accepted my child with open arms,” said Goosen. “Letting go of my little girl was the most difficult challenge I had to overcome,” she added.

During her imprisonment, the semi-finalist who was slowly falling into depression lost her grandfather, sister and her best friend Melanie who died three months before her release. Serving her never-ending time in prison, she began growing closer to God and reading the Holy Bible which gave her the strength and courage to overcome the many challenges she encountered in prison.

In 2010, Goosen was released and returned back home. Her daughter waited on the other side of the terminal doors impatiently for her arrival. At the age of 43, she released her story to the public ‘Drug Muled, Sixteen Years in a Thai Prison’. The book was composed by Joanne Joseph and Larissa Focke entailing a detailed story of Vanessa Goosen’s life in prison.

Goosen said that, “Through everything I encountered, I never gave up, I held on and believed that God will bring me through this.” Goosen wants to give back to society through her experiences and stand as a pillar of hope to broken hearts. “I want to give hope to people through my testimony.”


Velancia Naidoo

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