Make your own set of wings
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.