Practise pays off in the wind

2017-10-17 06:01
Bobby Gathoo from Steenberg and his winning swaeltjie will be taking part in the Cape Town International Kite Festival in Muizenberg at the end of this month.

Bobby Gathoo from Steenberg and his winning swaeltjie will be taking part in the Cape Town International Kite Festival in Muizenberg at the end of this month.

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A Steenberg resident who is a kite-maker will be flying his kites and teaching people how to make them in support of Cape Mental Health.

Bobby Gathoo, an award-winning kite-maker, will be participating in the 23rd Cape Town International Kite Festival in Muizenberg on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October. The festival organisers say everyone is being called to embrace their “right to fly” and have fun at the festival.

Gathoo has entered the festival’s competition for the Heritage Kite Award every year since its inception. He has been placed several times and took top honours for the first time last year with a stunning pink and black swaeltjie.

He made his first kite when he was just five years old, copying one his elder brother had made using a piece of paper (pulled from a school exercise book), three matches and cotton from one of his mother’s reels.

His father was also a kite-maker, having been taught by his own father who came from Pakistan, a country where kiting is a popular pastime.

A keen fisherman, Gathoo says he flies kites when the fishing is not so good. His kite-making skills have been honed with years of practise.

He makes a kite every single day and sells them to local children, saying “the children value them more if they have paid for them”.

Gathoo will be joining other kiters from China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Poland and South Africa who will show that almost anything can fly – with fish, dragons, dinosaurs and even a little pig adorning the sky.

The family festival has become South Africa’s biggest mental health awareness event and all of the profits go to help Cape Mental Health provide vital mental health services to children and adults in Cape Town and beyond.

Ingrid Daniels, director of Cape Mental Health, says: “We all have a basic right to fly – to explore our abilities, develop our skills and soar freely at home, work, school and in our community. Children and adults with mental health needs have the same human rights as everyone else and at our festival we will be celebrating everyone’s ‘right to fly’, to be accepted, respected and ­included.”

There will be free kite-making workshops for children and adults, as well as live entertainment, rides, a free, supervised play area for toddlers and a food market. Visitors can bring a picnic.

The festival takes place at Zandvlei Nature Reserve, Muizenberg (corner Axminster and the Row) from 10:00 to 18:00 daily. There is plenty of parking and easy access by train (False Bay or Muizenberg stations).

Entry costs R40 (R15 for children 12 years and under). Tickets are available at the gate or via

V For more information visit, contact Cape Mental Health on 021 447 9040 or or follow ­@CTKiteFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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