REACHING FOR THE SKY: Professional kiters visited the children from Cape Mental Health’s Heideveld Special Education and Care Centre as a preview to the Cape Town International Kite Festival. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ANA

Cape Town - Professional kiters from Europe and Malaysia arrived on the Cape Flats this week bringing their spectacular showpieces to Heideveld, as part of a preview to the annual Cape Town International Kite Festival taking place in Muizenberg this weekend, a Cape Mental Health organisation awareness initiative.

The 12 kiters visited the Cape Mental Health’s Heideveld Special Education and Care Centre, a community-based programme for 60 children with severe and profound intellectual disability.

“This is a special experience to be near the kids, the main idea is to make them happy while flying kites, this is why we are here,” said Malaysian kiter Nasri Ahmad.

He said this was his first time flying kites with children and he had been inspired to host a similar event in Malaysia in December.

“I also came to learn from the organisation in the hope of exchanging knowledge to take back to my country,” he said.

Despite light rain, several kites big and small took to the sky, including a big orange and white kite resembling Disney’s Nemo animation character that got toddlers excited.

As they filled the sky, community ward councillor Anthony Moses said bringing the kites to their area was something positive.

“The kite display shows the kids that there is an alternative to anti-social behaviour.”

Cape Mental Health director Ingrid Daniels said: “We all have the 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 rights as everyone else. At our 23rd Cape Town International Kite Festival, we will be celebrating everyone’s ‘Right to Fly’, to be accepted, respected and included.”

Kiters from China, England, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Poland and South Africa will show that almost anything can fly - with fish, owls, dragons, dinosaurs, frogs, sharks and octopus among others.

Kiters from 6 countries are arriving tomorrow for #CTKiteFest! LIKE and wish them a warm Cape Town WELCOME :)

A post shared by Cape Town Kite Festival (@ctkitefest) on

The festival is at Zandvlei Nature Reserve in Muizenberg, 10am-6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Entry is R40 for adults and R15 for children 12 years and under.

Tickets are available at the gate or via www.Quicket.co.za

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Cape Times