About Vanessa

Shortly after reaching the Miss South Africa Beauty Pageant semi-finals, Vanessa Goosen was innocently arrested  and  sentenced to death. She returned to South Africa after serving  more than sixteen years in a Thai prison, suffering through many ordeals and having overcome life threatening challenges and obstacles.

Vanessa was born in the Eastern Cape and  raised in a very close-knit family and community. She moved to Johannesburg at the age of eleven to complete her tertiary education. With a good academic ability and  natural leadership skill and style, she was elected for various leadership roles. At this tender age she already stood out as an individual who is able to exert influence and impact peers and large groups with her drive, great sense of humour, definitive decision- making ability,  tenacity and hunger for success.

Amidst various other talents and passions, Vanessa always had a flare for the fashion industry. This love and passion ultimately led to her achieving great success at the Miss South Africa Beauty Pageant; reaching the Semi-Finals in 1993 when Jacqui Mofokeng, the first Black South African was crowned Miss South Africa. This significant milestone was achieved despite Vanessa facing many challenges and with the odds stacked against her. Competing at such a high level with success, tremendously grew her determination and confidence, bringing her to the perspective stance that “anything is achievable and possible, when pursued with heart, passion  and   perseverance.

Before the age of 20, the natural entrepreneurial drive and ability within Vanessa had already kicked in with her pursuing her first major business venture. She opened and co-owned an exclusive man’s fashion boutique in the  thriving and sought-after Carlton Centre.

Vanessa actively managed a manufacturing line as the backbone to compliment the fashion trendsetting creativity she brought to the market; growing her retail outlet with fresh design and quality. With the boutique’s clientele growing and with the desire to keep being consistently innovative, Vanessa set on a business trip to Thailand in 1994 to acquire fashion apparel  and  to  import   quality   fabric.

It was with this business trip that things went awry for Vanessa. Caught up in every traveller’s nightmare, Vanessa was duped into  unknowingly carrying books with heroin hidden in its covers. This led to her arrest and being sentenced to death. She was pregnant at the time of her arrest, leading to her sentence    being   postponed   until   after  her  giving   birth.


Vanessa Goosen Strategic Empowerment Was Founded By Vanessa Goosen With The Heartbeat To 

The Journey...

Giving birth in prison was both a physically painful and an emotionally traumatic experience. There were no proper medical facilities and Vanessa had no family to guide and strengthen her through this process. She was forced to give up her daughter when she reached the age of three years. This in itself was very painful;  it tore Vanessa apart and traumatically affected both herself and her daughter.

Hurt, anger, hatred, unforgiveness, betrayal,  pain, broken-hearted, abandoned, loneliness and fear  plagued Vanessa as she battled anxiety,   panic   attacks,  suicidal thoughts and depression.



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Every Dark Pit Holds Scars From Which Flows Victory.

Today Vanessa is a Servant Of The Gospel, an Author, an Entrepreneur, a Counsellor, has appeared on numerous national and international Radio and TV Talk Shows and actively runs various Community Empowerment Projects. She too is a very enterprising Motivational and Inspirational Speaker who has left a significant mark on the thousands she has engaged with on a Corporate, Social, Individual or Spiritual level at events.

Vanessa has been hosted on TV & Radio Talk Shows which include  Club 700, Carte Blanche, Against All Odds, I am A Woman, Botswana TV,  Wat Mense Sê, Verander Dinge; Newzroom Afrika, ENCA, Radio 2000 FM, Tygerberg, Good Hope, Bay FM, Kingfisher FM, East Coast Radio, Power FM, Jacaranda, Chai FM and  Kaya  FM; Engaging around her journey of being innocently arrested, sentenced to death and serving a sentence of more than sixteen years in a Thai Prison.

She has been featured in various magazines both Locally and Internationally; which include amongst others Oprah, You, Drum, Huisgenoot, Sarie, Rooi Rose, Vroue Keur and Women Of Faith.  Her story featured in countries to the likes of Sweden, Hungary and the UK; She received A Global Award from England for her Story.

Her book Drug Muled: Sixteen Years In A Thai Prison has sold thousands of copies, hitting Number One after a few weeks of release, as per the Nielson Rating and has received  world-wide excellent ratings.

From a platform and stance of realness, Vanessa uses every opportunity to share the journey which brought with it many practical lessons, resilience, wisdom and understanding gained. This includes Counselling, Motivational Talks, Workshops, Ministry, Women Camps and Women Targeted Events as well as programs aimed at assisting Schools,Universities and the Younger Generation at large to use obstacles as building blocks toward success.


Online Services

Our Online Services Are Available:

  • Telephonically 
  •  Video Calling via platforms such as WhatsApp,  Zoom or Google Meet.


More Information and Booking Enquiries  available  at:

info@www.vgse.co.za         or on       +27 (0)65 820 5263


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