It was difficult to say who was more entranced with the colourful kites that took to the sky on Saturday 26 October and Sunday 27 October at Zandvlei Nature Reserve: the children or the parents.
Kiters from seven countries – Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, the UK and South Africa – flew their incredible kite creations at the 25th Cape Town International Kite Festival held on the weekend. The bigger-than-life creatures ranged from giant bees, a dragon, an octopus, Lurchi the salamander and all kinds of birds, to name a few.
And, of course, there were also the hundreds of kites flown by less professional but equally passionate kite enthusiasts who either brought their own, bought their own or made their own at the free kite-making workshop.
Other fun things to watch, eat and do included a festival parade featuring the Ashwin Willemse Orient Marching show band, performances by local musicians and dancers, craft stalls, funfair rides and fare from food trucks.
With the theme Let Hope Fly, this year’s festival again proved how much joy these flimsy flying objects, tethered to a string, can give even to the most jaded of souls.
The event host and beneficiary, non-profit organisation Cape Mental Health, has been using kites to generate funds and raise awareness of mental wellness since 1994. The annual kite festival is the highlight of the annual October Mental Health Month campaign, which this year focused on suicide awareness and prevention.
“With self-harm and suicide rates on the rise, we want to share a message of hope and encouragement,” said Dr Ingrid Daniels, director of Cape Mental Health and president-elect of the World Federation for Mental Health.
“Just as kiters use a line to keep hold of their kites, hope can be the line to life. Sometimes you may find hope inside yourself; at other times it may need to come from a friend, a loved one or a professional. The important thing is to hold on and not let go.”