Vanessa Govender-Tedder: Her story of sexual violence inside Lotus FM

More than one million households across the country know her name and face. She had an affinity to bring out stories human suffering and triumph that captivated viewers, and with it Vanessa Govender shot to fame as one of the first female Indian television news reporters in South Africa.

Always chasing the human angle of any news story, Govender made a name for herself by highlighting stories that included the grief of a mother clutching a packet filled with the fragments of the broken bones of her children after they’d been hacked to death by their own father, and another story where she celebrated the feisty spirit of a little girl who was dying of old age, while holding onto dreams that would never be realised. 

Yet Govender, a champion for society’s downtrodden, was hiding a shocking story of her own. In Beaten But Not Broken, she finally opens up about her deepest secret – one that so nearly ended her career in broadcast journalism before it had barely kicked off.

Vanessa Govender Tedder

She was a rookie reporter at the SABC in 1999. He was a popular radio disc jockey at a radio station catering to nearly half a million Indian people across South Africa. They were the perfect pair, or so it seemed.

Behind the scenes the bruising punches, the cracking slaps, and the relentless episodes filled with beatings, kicking and strangling were as ferocious as the emotional and verbal abuse he hurled at her.

No one would know the brutal and graphic details of Govender’s story … until now.

Here’s a short extract from the book

He lit a cigarette and squatted on me, his entire body weight resting on my scrawny thighs, his heavy shoes digging into me, leaving print on my black pants. My thighs and my stomach were aching. He blew smoke into my face. He didn’t say a word, just tilted his head from left to right, examining my face and blowing smoke into it.

His eyes narrowed into slits. If I weren’t so traumatized, I would probably have laughed at how utterly ridiculous he looked. Tears softly and silently started streaming down my face. My self-control was diminishing with each passing second. He finished his cigarette, jumped off and ordered me to stand up.

I tried to say sorry, but he seemed unreachable. He pushed me against the wall. He took my head in both his hands and started banging it against the wall…….

In Beaten But Not Broken, this Indian woman does the unthinkable in breaking the ranks of a close-knit conservative community to speak out about her five-year-long hell in this abusive relationship.

Credit: Sunday Times

Her story also lays bare her heartbreaking experiences as a victim of childhood bullying and being ostracised by some in her community for being a dark-skinned Indian girl. Govender tells a graphic story of extreme abuse, living with the pain, and ultimately of how she was saved by her own relentless fighting spirit to find purpose and love.

This is a story of possibilities and hope; it is a story of a true survivor.


Vanessa Govender is a an award-winning television news journalist. She started her journalism career as a radio news reporter and news reader at the SABC, before she was recruited to join eTV’s Prime Time News team in Johannesburg. Vanessa is now a full-time mom and the author of the children’s book The Selfish Shongololo.

Beaten But Not Broken is available at major book stores and on Amazon. 

ISBN 978-1-4314-2679-9 
GENRE Memoir 
FORMAT Trade Paperback 
SIZE 235x155mm 
EXTENT 206pp
RIGHTS World Rights
RELEASE August 2018

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.


  1. Who is this monster who assaulted and tormented her? Please find a way to expose him, or give us a way of figuring it out. He must be criminally charged.

  2. Yes please name and put up a pic of this bastard

  3. Totally agree. He should not be allowed to get off that easily.