Couple fly flag for Parow at kite festival

Jean-Marc Johannes shows off his skills at the first Pop-Up Skate Park event, last year.

Ian Islip is a passionate kite maker and together with his wife, Jenny, as Northern News celebrates its 20th birthday this week, will be flying their kites high for Parow, where they live.

When they visited a kite festival in Muizenberg years ago, they were so inspired by what they saw that Ian started designing his own inflatable windsock kites, although he’d been flying and making stick kites for a while.

What started as a hobby has grown into a full-time job, and Ian is a skilled and versatile kite-maker.

He has created some extraordinary new designs, including a 16m two-headed dragon, a 25m worm and a range of superheroes, including his 3.2m Kite Man. One of his earliest kites was based on a vintage Cody, an early 20th century kite used for military purposes and able to lift a man into the air.

Most days, Ian can be found at a field near his home flying kites and testing out new designs.

“Stick kites are my favourite because you can fly them in any condition,” he says.

When he launched his big dragon for the first time the wind caught it.

“It almost walked out of the kite bag; it was just amazing to see, and flew perfectly first time.”

Ian says every one of his designs has flown successfully straight away. He flew radio-controlled planes for 15 years so he says he understands how the wind works.

#BornToFly is the theme of the 22nd Cape Town International Kite Festival. “We believe everyone is born with potential to fly beyond life’s circumstances,” says Ingrid Daniels, director of Cape Mental Health, the organiser of the annual kiting extravaganza.

The festival happens on and above the lawns of Zandvlei Nature Reserve, Muizenberg. It’s open from 10am to 6pm daily, and entry is R30 (R10 for children 12 years and under).

Tickets are available online at and at the gate.

Visit, call 021 447 9040 or email for details. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CTKiteFest.

Ian Islip and his wife, Jenny, below his red dragon creation, which he’ll be flying at the 22nd Cape Town International Kite Festival in Muizenberg on Saturday and Sunday October 29 and October 30. The fest is in support of Cape Mental Health, organisers of the annual kiting extravaganza, which has become Africa’s biggest kite festival.

The worm is one of Parow kiter Ian Islip’s longest creations.