Orion’s bright flights of fancy

Park­wood kite-maker aims for higher things, writes ASANDA SOKANYILE

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

asanda.sokanyile@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: JA­SON BOUD

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.

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