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October 20, 2010

Kiters from around the world arrive for Cape Town International Kite Festival

gomberg kite festival

David and Susan Gomberg’s zebra kite creation

The 16th Cape Town International Kite Festival, happening on October 23 and 24 in Muizenberg, is Africa’s biggest kite festival.

It attracts over 23 000 visitors, including some of the world’s best-known kiters who fly in specifically to show off their magnificent creations. Here are four globetrotters who’ll be joining in this year.

David and Susan Gomberg from the USA are known for their giant show kites, recently creating the biggest kite in the world.

Performing at up to 30 events a year, they’ve participated in more than 100 kite festivals in 25 countries including Japan, China, Germany, England, France, Thailand and Kuwait.

David has served an unprecedented 10 terms as president of the American Kitefliers Association, the largest association of kite enthusiasts in the world.

In 2005, he was inducted into Kiting Hall of Fame by the World Kite Museum. 

The Gombergs first attended the Cape Town International Kite Festival in 2002 and have since visited five times, becoming special patrons of the event.

“We love the many cultures in South Africa,” says Susan, “and we thought this year it would be fun to fly kites representative of African animals.”

David and Susan Gomberg

Susan and David Gomberg

“We [try] to add a bit of humour,” adds David. “After all, kite flying is about having fun!”

Petra de Back from Switzerland is returning to South Africa for the second time to attend the Cape Town International Kite Festival.

A few years back, Petra organised a kite festival at a school for children with special needs, which is how she met Bernhard Dingwerth, a kiting enthusiast from Germany.

Since then the two of them have attended several international kite festivals together. At the Kites for Wishes Festival in Guam, they met David Gomberg, who invited them to South Africa.

“There’s one more thing I’d like you to know,” says Petra, during an interview conducted in the run-up to the festival.

Bernhard Dingwerth kite festival

Bernhard Dingwerth’s crocodile

“I’m an autistic person; I have Asperger’s syndrome. Flying with special-needs kids has a very special meaning to me.”

Bernhard Dingwerth from Germany specialises in soft kites, and will be bringing a selection of inflatable animals to the 2010 Cape Town International Kite Festival.

He started kiting in 1984, and soon started building his own single line kites, making his first inflatable – a crocodile – in 1994.

Bernhard’s extraordinary kites have won him the German championship three times, and made him a very popular guest at kite festivals around the world, but this will be his first time to South Africa.

“I heard a lot of good things about your country – beautiful countryside, friendly people, sunshine, good food. When David and Susan Gomberg asked me to come with [them] I didn’t have to think about it.”

When he’s not flying kites, Bernhard spends his days as a social education worker at a children’s home.

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