A Year of Conversation
“You’re invited for a conversation” is all the info invitees are offered regarding the events of the night, “come enjoy and experience”. Now, many people are apprehensive about accepting an invite that is so vague, but some have the courage to plunge in and experience something new. The RSVPs come in, the list is drawn up and tables are assigned. The night comes where a bunch of strangers rock up to a venue not knowing what awaits them.
As the organiser, and sometimes host, of the Conversation Café, it is always fun to see people arrive with nervous smiles on their faces, not quite sure what to expect. They enjoy a welcome drink with the people they recognise. When we seat them at a table full of strangers, the air of uncertainty rises. My favourite part of the evening is when I see the nervousness melt away from their faces.
Strangers morph into confidantes as they sit around tables discussing some of life’s important questions. I see friendships being formed, I see professional connections being made, but more importantly, I see the human-ness of each person come through as they engage with others. When people walk out of this experience, they invariably walk out with hugs and smiles and laughter, thanking us for the magical experience that in the beginning seemed so daunting.
It is absolutely fantastic that a corporate like Standard Bank Namibia sees the value in this beautiful concept. They have partnered with us for 3 magical years. In 2023, the Conversation spread around the country. We found groups of courageous humans in towns like Swakopmund, Oshakati and Otjiwarongo where Conversations melted perceived barriers until we were just humans listening, loving, talking and seeing each other.
My hope always is and always will be that through the work I do I can touch one person, change their perception, shift their reality to see other perspectives. Conversation Cafe always achieves this, not just for one person but for pretty much every guest that has attended.
As we close the Conversation Cafes for 2023, I want to remind us all that it is in talking to each other that we find magic, that we find our human-ness, that we find courage. So, keep conversing, keep talking and of course, listening to each other to stay connected to what makes us human.
And if you receive a vague invite to attend a Conversation Cafe in 2024, be brave and join in.