In South Africa, any person who is of the minimum required age and holds a valid ID document may sit a learner's licence exam.
The Learner's Licence exam is a 68 question multiple choice exam with questions spread over three sections: Rules of the road (30 questions); Signs, signals and road markings (30 questions), and vehicle controls (8 questions). The holder of a learner's licence is allowed to drive only when supervised by a licensed driver. If the category of vehicle being driven requires a professional driving permit, the licensed driver must also hold a professional driving permit. South African Learners must carry their Learner's Licence with them whenever they are driving a vehicle and have L plates on the rear window. The Learner's Licence is valid for 24 months.
A license represents independence, freedom, and a step towards adulthood. With the wheel in your hands, and the wind in your hair, there is nothing stopping you. Before you get your driver's license, though, you most often need to get a learner's permit. While it might seem like a hassle, there are actually benefits that come with your permit.
A learner's permit allows new drivers to legally get behind the wheel while under the supervision of an experienced driver. This lets newer (and usually younger) drivers get more experience on the road. This will make passing an actual driver's test easier. Also, there's a correlation between driving experience and likelihood of getting in an accident. So, there's a vested interest in making sure new drivers get a bit of seasoning before getting a license.
A learner's permit gives drivers more time to acclimate to the rules of the road. It can allow younger drivers to clock a lot of miles before shooting for their test.
Getting a learner's permit isn't just a good idea; it's the law. To get a driver's license, someone first has to get Learner's Licence. This forces future drivers to go through the "introductory level" of driving. This ensures new drivers are exposed to night driving, inclement weather, highway driving, etc.
Every driver has to go through the same routine, and get the same time on the road.
For those who need to go through the permit process, getting a Learner's Licence is easy. All you have to do is head down your local BMV, and take a written test. There's no driving needed, because that's what you need the permit for in the first place.
The specific tests will vary depending on where you live, but it's a good idea to pick up a learner's manual (K53). This will help you see what sorts of facts you're expected to know.
A permit is a temporary thing, but it can be scary taking that leap. The more time you spend driving, though, the less frightening your license test will be. Also, the more road rule knowledge you have, the easier it will be to move from theory to practice.