Lifting Up Mental Health in South Africa
Each October, as the South African spring gives way to summer, the sky in Cape Town becomes a kaleidoscope of colors. A surprising mix of creatures — both real and imaginary — joins the birds in taking flight.
Fish fly by, as do raccoons, cats, squids, tigers and whales. Sometimes, a dragon appears, its serpentine body swaying to and fro. Each is tethered to a string and climbs and swoops with the caprices of the city’s seasonal breezes.
People come from all over the world to participate in the annual Cape Town International Kite Festival. The 22nd annual event, in October 2016, included kite enthusiasts from Canada, England, Germany, New Zealand and Singapore, the Cape Times reported. The event benefited Cape Mental Health to raise “awareness of the importance of mental health and highlights the link between physical and mental well-being,” according to the event’s Facebook page. Cape Mental Health, a nonprofit, offers free health services to those living in Western Cape.
In addition to the airborne arrays, those attending can see shows and participate in kite workshops and contests.
“Our mission is to help people realize their potential and overcome mental health challenges they may encounter,” Cape Mental Health Director Ingrid Daniels told the Times. “Kites are one of the tools we use. Almost everyone feels lighter when they simply lift their heads and look up.”