New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: A Boom in Driving School Businesses

To learn to drive a car is not always the easiest thing to do - a realisation that prompted the 34-year-old Gift Sheehama to open a driving school in 2008, five years after obtaining his driver's licence.

"I started in Ondangwa using my brother's vehicle after I noticed that although a great deal of people wanted to learn how to drive there were no driving schools to teach them," said Sheehama who now runs the Shekina Driving Academy in Tsumeb.

Today the Shekina Driving Academy is very busy with Sheehama waking up at 04:00 to prepare to teach his students who start lessons at 05:00. The driving academy boasts four cars and four instructors including Sheehama. "Clients are more than plentiful - the only major problem is finding good help these days. Although patience is a virtue not everyone is patient. Past instructors had problems seeing eye to eye with learners and lost their tempers," said Sheehama.

But Sheehama enthusiastically says driving is very easy as long as students pay attention. "I can teach anyone to drive any car in one day," he said. Sheehama himself got his driver's licence after one failed attempt.

He however notes that the students are usually afraid of driving. "Fear and panic are what cause most people to fail in obtaining their driver's licence. I have seen competent drivers, what one would call the cream of my class crumble under pressure. However, it is only fair that I mention that after they mastered their fears and anxiety they all passed with flying colours and most of them are excellent drivers now," he added.

Another problem Sheehama mentioned was a lack of common courtesy from other road users who he claims do not respect learner drivers, and hoot at them on the road.

"Next time you see a learner driver or a driving school car, take the following into consideration: Most road accidents are caused by people who already have their licence and not learners, and before any of us started driving, we were learners, learning is hard enough without the pressure, therefore be patient with learners."

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