Meet the granny who teaches women to drive in her old Tazz
For her pupils, a driver's licence means freedom, equality and independence
A grandmother of 10, who became the first female instructor for bus drivers in Cape Town, is now “emancipating” 1,000 women by teaching them to drive.
Despite only having an old Tazz to do this, Jameelah Liedeman, from Kensington, is determined to change the lives of the Cape Flats women.
Liedeman worked for Golden Arrow, a major public bus service in the city, as a bus driver and went on to become an instructor in 2006.
“I had to work twice as hard,” said Liedeman.
“I had to prove I was worthy and because I was sexually abused as a child I never allowed any man to get me down.”
Her classes are not just about driving. She also encourages women to speak out against abuse and take control of their lives.
She said getting a driver's licence means freedom, equality and independence.Community leader Joanie Fredericks said since the free classes started in Mitchells Plain they have received calls from as far as Grabouw.
She said one of the biggest obstacles for women to learn to drive is money and support from their partners. In addition they do not have babysitters. This is why their children come along to classes.
“For me it is about empowerment. Many women pay the car instalments and have to watch it stand in the garage. Often they have to beg men to take them somewhere. Sometimes their partners would stop in the middle of the road and tell them: ‘It’s your car right? So see how that works out for you.’ I’ve heard too many stories like that,” said Fredericks.
Some women have their learner’s licences already and have secured appointments to take their driver’s test. But most of the women are starting from scratch by learning the rules of the road.
The women range from teenagers to great-grandmothers.
“A 65-year-old woman told me: ‘If I get my licence, I can die’,” aid Fredericks from the NEAD Community Development organisation.