Make your own set of wings

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - LUKE FOLB

EM­BRAC­ING your right to fly and hav­ing fun while rais­ing aware­ness for men­tal ill­ness and well-be­ing is what the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Kite Fes­ti­val is all about.

The kit­ing ex­trav­a­ganza kicked off yes­ter­day when the sky over Zand­vlei Park in Muizen­berg be­came dot­ted with a sea of colours and an ar­ray of dif­fer­ent shapes and sizes of kite.

The fes­ti­val, in its 23rd year, brought to­gether kiters from six dif­fer­ent coun­tries – Eng­land, Nether­lands, Malaysia, Poland, Ger­many and South Africa.

Maarten van Hienen from the Nether­lands has been fly­ing kites for more than 30 years and re­counted how his love af­fair started.

“My mother had a book of dress pat­terns when I was younger and that’s when my fas­ci­na­tion

‘I love it be­cause kit­ing is some­thing of an art’

with pat­terns be­gan. I bought a kite kit from a hobby shop and asked my mother to teach me how to sew. She gave me one or two lessons and by the third time she told me now I needed to do it my­self.”

Since then, Van Hienen has made his own kites and re­fuses to buy one.

“I like mak­ing my own pat­terns. It takes me two to three weeks but I love it be­cause kit­ing is some­thing of an art.”

Vis­i­tors to the fes­ti­val can take part in free kite-mak­ing work­shops for chil­dren and adults as well as car­ni­val rides, a tod­dler zone, food mar­ket and live en­ter­tain­ment. All the pro­ceeds raised go to Cape Men­tal Health to pro­vide vi­tal ser­vices to chil­dren and adults in Cape Town and beyond.

Last week, the kiters vis­ited Manyanani Peace Park, Khayelit­sha, to fly their kites and in­ter­act with the chil­dren from Imizamo Yethu Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion and Care Cen­tre. Chil­dren who at­tend the cen­tre have se­vere in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties.

The fes­ti­val is Cape Men­tal Health’s big­gest event of the year with the aim of break­ing down the bar­ri­ers around men­tal health.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Cape Men­tal Health, Ger­rie van Eeben, said there is of­ten a stigma at­tached to men­tal health is­sues.

“In more tra­di­tional cul­tures, if you have men­tal health prob­lems you might be seen as be­ing pos­sessed by a spirit.

“We’re try­ing to break that down be­cause ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, one in four peo­ple don’t get the help they need and we need to change that,” he said.

The kite fes­ti­val con­tin­ues to­day from 10am. Tick­ets are R40 for adults and R15 for chil­dren 12 and younger.


JP Smith takes a pic­ture at the kite fes­ti­val in Muizen­berg.

Kites of all shapes and sizes could be seen flap­ping in the wind at the fes­ti­val.

The Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Kite Fes­ti­val is Africa’s big­gest kite fes­ti­val, at­tract­ing tal­ented kite-mak­ers and kite-fliers from around the world.

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