Orion’s bright flights of fancy
Parkwood kite-maker aims for higher things, writes ASANDA SOKANYILE
GROWING up surrounded by gangs, drugs and violence is the sad reality 13-year-old kiter Orion Brody has to grapple with every day in Parkwood Estate. And his escape is kiting, which he describes as his and his grandfather Gerald Gelderbloem’s “special thing”.
The elder of two boys, Orion lives with his grandfather.
Their “special thing”, he said watching a group of men smoking in a nearby park, “is a way for me to get away from this kind of life”.
The pair will take part in the 22nd annual Cape Town International Kite Festival, the theme of which is #BornToFly. It takes place on October 29 and 30 at Zandvlei Nature Reserve at Muizenberg.
Orion is a kite-maker and kite-flyer who learnt his skills from his grandfather from the age of five. At the 2014 festival, he won a prize for his handmade heart kite.
Festival organisers say there will be lots to look out for at this year’s event, including “amazing kites of all shapes, sizes and colours”. Expect to see a flying pig, a 25m twoheaded dragon, a family of octopus, unusual worms, a fish and an alien.
The festival, the biggest of its kind in the world, is hosted annually by Cape Mental Health. All proceeds go towards helping the organisation provide vital services to adults and children in resource-poor communities.
Gelderbloem and Orion are busy making kites for this year’s Heritage Kite Competition, which takes place on the Sunday of the #CTKiteFest.
Event spokeswoman Cathy Williams said the pair had also volunteered to help run Swaeltjie kite-making workshops on festival days, along with Athlone kite-maker Ebrahim Sambo.
Orion’s first kite was an orange diamond-shape one made of plastic, “which I helped my granddad make”.
“I can also make a swallow if I get some help with the tails and I’ve also made a box kite,” he said.
Looking over at the group in the park, he said: “You can see for yourself what this place is like. But the gangs don’t mess with me because they are scared of my grandfather.”
One day he wants to become a scientist, but also has plans to set up his own orchestra.
“Kiting also reminds me of my mother, I feel more connected to her when I fly my kites.
“Her passing made me really sad and I needed something to keep myself busy. She loved kiting, so it was the obvious choice to continue with it,” he said.
The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30, from 10am to 6pm. Tickets will be available at the gate for R30 for adults and R10 for children 12 years and younger. Babies under one enter free.
Tickets are also available online at www. capementalhealth.co.za.
Orion Brody, 13, and his grandfather, Gerald Gelderbloem, from Parkwood, have been making and flying kites together for more than five years. Gerald makes the kites out of bamboo and pieces of old umbrellas.