Windswept winner

2017-10-31 06:01
Bobby Gathoo (right) from Steenberg won the open category of the kite-flying competition at the Cape Town International Kite Festival on Sunday. With him are Gerald Gelderbloem, who won second place and Orion Brophy, who came second in the swaeltjie competition.

Bobby Gathoo (right) from Steenberg won the open category of the kite-flying competition at the Cape Town International Kite Festival on Sunday. With him are Gerald Gelderbloem, who won second place and Orion Brophy, who came second in the swaeltjie competition.

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A Steenberg man won despite a broken kite at the 23rd Cape Town International Kite Festival.

The blustery wind at the Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve on Sunday broke the kite of a school of fish made by Bobby Gathoo, as well as the kite of the runner-up.

Sunday’s wind provided “challenging conditions for the kiters”, says event spokesperson Cathy Williams, although Saturday was “the best day we’ve had for a long time” when participating kiters from here and abroad could fly all day.

Gerald Gelderbloem came second in the open category with a colourful box kite.

Gathoo has been building kites for more than 40 years.

“I still remain a boy,” he jokes.

He won the swaeltjie competition for heritage kites last year. The festival is a special occasion for him each year thanks to the atmosphere at the event and the opportunity to meet other kiters.

“It’s rewarding,” he says.

Bilqees Sambo (18) from Athlone won the swaeltjie category. Learners of Cristel House in Ottery won the school competition, while new entrants Oasis School in Belhar won the special needs category of the school ­competition.

As one of the hosts of the kite-building workshops held throughout the weekend, Gathoo also helped newer enthusiasts lift off by realising their #RightToFly, this year’s festival theme.

“It takes skill and dedication to make something beautiful,” Gathoo says.

He and Gelderbloem, however, lament the local scarcity of materials to build kites with. They have incorporated recycling into their designs – Gathoo using plastic shopping bags and Gelderbloem a broken umbrella. Gelderbloem’s grandson, Orion Brophy (13) from Parkwood, came second in the swaeltjie competition with his kite made from black bags.

The festival is hosted annually by Cape Mental Health to raise awareness of mental health services.

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