Jamielah Liedeman explains the controls to first-time learner driver Yasmina Abrahams. Picture: David Ritchie / African News Agency.
Cape Town - When news spread that free learner's licence classes would be starting in Tafelfsig, Mitchells Plain, more than 1000 women signed up.

The free classes are presented by Jamielah Liedeman, 48, who grew up in Mitchells Plain. She's also a former driving instructor and was Golden Arrow’s first female driving instructor in 2006. Liedeman, whose mother was also a teacher in Mitchells Plain, said it was her way of serving her community.

“This is my way of giving back to the community," she said. "I want all these women to be able to drive one day. Apart from the driving, it is also about empowering women to become independent.”

She said she became involved in the programme when community worker Joanie Fredericks asked her to present the classes. After passing their learner's licences, Liedeman will also teach them to drive.

'I'll be mobile'

Fredericks said she was amazed and happy when she saw the women registering for the classes. She said the youngest student was 17 with the eldest being 64.

Shamiela Abdullah, 62, from Tafelsig, said she always wanted to drive her own car “but I never had the chance”.

“The first place I will be driving to when I get my licence is the Table Mountain cable car,” she said.

Jasmina Abrahams, 57, from Mitchells Plain added: “When I have my driver’s licence I will be mobile and be able to collect stock for my sewing business.”

Another resident, Delia Prins, said she bought a car a year ago but can’t drive it.

“It would be nice to drive to the supermarket,” she said.

Cape Argus